The HOWARD Sisters
Father James HOWARD b.c. 17941 m. (1) bef. 1831 (2) none d. aft. 1871
Step-mother2 unknown b. unknown m. (1) bef. 1831 d. unknown
Mother Elizabeth aka Betsy BURTON b.c. 18253 m. none d. 18954
Brother James HOWARD b. 18415 m. 18706 Elizabeth Ann McKITT d. 19097
Sister Elizabeth HOWARD b. 18438 m. d.
Brother William HOWARD b.c. 1845 m. d.
Brother John HOWARD b.c. 18469 m. 187010 Mary Ann McKITT d. 192911
Sister Mary Ann HOWARD b.c. 1849 m. 187012 John SLINGSBY d. 189913
Sister Harriett HOWARD b.c. 1853 m. none14 Edward AH SEE d. 192915
Inmate Ann aka Hannah HOWARD b.c. 1855 m. unknown (see below) d. aft. 1873
Inmate Sarah HOWARD b.c. 1857 m. 1880 (see below) d. 194616
Sister Rachel HOWARD b. 185817 m. none - d. 186118
Inmate (twin) Emma aka Emily Elizabeth HOWARD b. 186119 m. 1881 (see below) d. 191020
Inmate (twin) Lucy HOWARD b. 186121 m. (see below) d. aft. 1877
Sister Mary HOWARD b.c. 186122 m. d. aft. 189523
Sister Rachel HOWARD b.c. 1862 m. none - d. 186724
Relationship Name Age Height Hair Eyes Complexion Build Distinguishing features
Father James25 39 5' 6" brown mixed with grey brown dark scar under chin; scar ball of left thumb; scar back of forefinger of left hand; four scars back of forefinger of same
Sister Elizabeth26 31 5' 4" brown brown dark

In Bathurst in mid-October 1869, fourteen-year-old Ann aka Anna HOWARD, and her sisters, Sarah aged twelve, and the twins Lucy and Emma, both aged about nine, in company with Susan ARROW aka HARROW,27 were charged with stealing a shilling from a child named ROPER. Senior-sergeant WATERS deposed that they had been:

… strolling about the town, some of them in a state almost approaching to nudity, and were pictures of misery and destitution. Susan Arrow was found guilty and sent to gaol for one month; the others were discharged, but were immediately rearrested on a charge of vagrancy. Senior sergeant Waters deposed that they were continually strolling about the streets, insufficiently clothed, and apparently ill fed; previous charges of robbery had been preferred against them and they were being brought up in a state of ignorance and immorality. The mother of the children appeared at the Court, and said she was very poor but she pleaded with the Bench to allow the children to return home with her. She said her husband was living, but he was old and infirm and unable to do anything towards maintaining her and the children. She had had thirteen children, three of whom were dead; two of her daughters were in service and two of her sons helped to support her. If the children were allowed to return home she would do her best to keep them better in future. The Bench were of opinion that it would be much better for the children to be sent to the Industrial School, where they would be fed, clothed, educated, and fitted to follow some useful occupation. They accordingly ordered that the children should be forwarded to the Industrial School at Newcastle, and the mother was informed that she would be allowed the privilege of corresponding with them, or, if she went to Newcastle, she would be allowed to see them.28

Before their transfer to Newcastle, the four sisters were admitted to Bathurst Gaol29 where they awaited an escort, first to Sydney and then on to the Newcastle Industrial School30 where they were admitted on 21 October 1869.31 Their admission details have not survived as this date occurred during the period when records for the institution are missing from the Entrance Book. No confirmation of family, education, discharge or religion can therefore be confirmed from this source. The four sisters transferred to Biloela in May 1871 and were recorded as 'In the Institution' on the list compiled by LUCAS in April 1872.32 The Biloela transfer lists recorded that the sisters were Protestant.33


Because two of the HOWARD admissions, Lucy and Emma, were named and described in newspaper reports as twins,34 their birth registrations and subsequently their family can be positively identified. The sisters were four of the daughters of James HOWARD and Elizabeth BURTON who lived with their extended families on the O'Connell Plains near Kelso and Bathurst. The identity of their family can further be verified because their mother was charged with a larceny and appeared in court on the Monday following their appearance for vagrancy. Elizabeth and her elder daughter, Harriet, had been charged with the theft of goods from Catherine WRIGHT and were each sentenced to three months' hard labour. Bathurst Gaol records for this period only supply trial dates and provide no descriptions. While many online trees have identified that James and Elizabeth had married in 184035 and Elizabeth's death registratiion states that she married in Bathurst when she was 20,36 no marriage has been identified. It is almost entirely certain that they, and perhaps many of their children, never married and this was very probably because it was very likely that James HOWARD already had a wife and two children in England.

The marriage of James HOWARD and Elizabeth TAYLOR in the Scots' Church in Sydney on 23 October 1843, by John Dunmore LANG37 is considered very unlikely to identify the marriage of James HOWARD and Elizabeth BURTON. While this original marriage record didn't contain a maiden name for Elizabeth and identified that she was a widow, because it had occurred far from Bathurst, the identified location of the couple in both 184138 and in 1843,39 and the stated location of the marriage when Elizabeth died,40 it is not thought to refer to the couple.

Elizabeth HOWARD née BURTON, was the daughter of James BURTON aka BOLTON, who had been transported aboard the Atlas in 1816. James BURTON's wife, Elizabeth BURTON née HILLYER, and their daughter, Sarah, had arrived free aboard the Surry (3) in 1819. James was subsequently assigned to his wife.41 Their daughter Elizabeth had been born in Windsor in about 1825 but no appropriate baptism has been located for her. She was recorded as a three-year-old on the NSW 1828 census.42 The extended BURTON family eventually moved to and were living in the Bathurst area by about 1841. In April 1895, some family connections were outlined in a newspaper report concerning a fight between Peter ARROW and his cousins, John, Charles, Albert and William HOWARD. The report included references to their father John HOWARD, a son of James and Elizabeth. Peter stated that the '… accused [John] and my father are cousins.'43 Peter’s father was identified in the NSW BDM Index as James ARROW, whose baptism or birth was also not registered. Other birth records for the children of Peter's parents, William and Sarah ARROW, confirmed that Sarah’s maiden name was BURTON. The 1929 death registration of John HOWARD, identified that his father was James and confirmed that his mother's maiden name was also BURTON. The Susan ARROW aka HARROW,44 who had been arrested at the same time as the HOWARD sisters but was too old to be sent to Newcastle, was therefore their cousin, baptised in 1854 as Susannah ARROW.

Elizabeth HOWARD and her daughter Harriet, were arrested for larceny in October 1869 shortly before her other daughters went to Newcastle. Both were tried and sentenced to three months hard labour in Bathurst Gaol. They were released in January 1870.45 Bathurst Gaol records, newspaper articles and the notation in the Police Gazette at the time of the arrests, are the only written evidence of the existence of Ann, Sarah and Harriet. No baptism or registration for these older three children has been located on the NSW BDM Index. Harriet was too old to have been admitted to Newcastle so was over 16. Online trees suggest that she had been born in about 1853. Ann was the eldest of the sisters admitted to Newcastle and had been born in about 1855 so only a baptism would have been available. Sarah's age in the Entrance Book very strongly suggested that she had been born after the commencement of compulsory registration in NSW in 1856 so a birth registration should have been made for her. Neither Sarah nor Ann were recorded on the death registration of their mother and it has been confirmed that Sarah was alive and married. It can't yet be ascertained whether Ann was still living in 1895, nor whether she used the name Ann or Hannah after her release from Newcastle.

Elizabeth died on 30 July 1895 as Elizabeth HOWARD and her death was registered in Dubbo. Her father was confirmed as James but no mother was identified. Although Elizabeth's daughter Harriet was a resident in the Dubbo area at this time,46 the informant of Elizabeth's death, Annie MELROSE, was not at that time a family member. Her ability to recall Elizabeth's complete and accurate family history must therefore be questioned. Annie has been potentially identified by descendants as Elizabeth's future granddaughter-in-law, or the future wife of Harriet's son, Edward AHSEE. As the informant, Annie identified only seven of Elizabeth's children but confirmed the existence of some whose births were unregistered. Of the registered children James was recorded as 50 but was probably closer to 60. Lucy was recorded as 40 and Emma, recorded as Emily was 37. If these girls were twins as the birth registrations suggest, they were only 34. Elizabeth's other children were confirmed as John who was recorded as 48 but may have been closer to 50. Mary Ann who was 44 but was probably closer to 46. Harriett was recorded as 42. Another daughter, also named Mary, was reported to be 35. This woman's identity is still unknown.47 Elizabeth HOWARD was buried in Dubbo Cemetery.48

Note: Some online trees erroneously indicate that Elizabeth remarried John SANDRY as Elizabeth BURTON in 1879.49 This relationship is not correct. From 1880 John and Elizabeth SANDRY became the parents of eight children who were all born in Bathurst. Elizabeth, the widow of John SANDRY died in 1939.50 Not only would it not have been possible for a woman born in 1825 to have been able to have delivered eight more children from 1880, she would also have died at the age of 114. The 1879 marriage actually refers to Elizabeth BURTON the daughter of William and Mary Jane BURTON.51

At the time of the arrest of his daughters, James HOWARD, was described as the:

… father of this unfortunate family … who, we understand has been eking out an existence somewhere in the bush, came into town a day or two ago, and procured an order to visit his wife and five daughters in the gaol. To judge from his appearance, the fact of his four children having been ordered to be sent to Newcastle is most fortunate. Age, poverty, and disease have rendered him a spectacle sickening to behold, and combined, they must eventually terminate what at present appears to be but a miserable existence.52

James' identity is very difficult to establish as his stated ages on official registrations must vary. Was James careless with the truth or did he just not know how old he was? At the time of his daughters' arrest his wife declared in court that 'her husband was living, but he was old and infirm and unable to do anything towards maintaining her and the children.'53 Some online trees, presumably using information recorded on birth registrations, have identified that James had been born in Gloucestershire, England, in about 1820. There are many trees that contain this unreferenced information and it must be questioned. It is difficult to imagine that a 49-year-old man would have been described in 1869 as old and infirm. One online query provided a more specific location for James and very strongly suggested that the contributor held a record that confirmed that James had been born in Bristol, Gloucestershire, England, in about 1810.54 It is easier to imagine that a 59-year-old man was old and infirm but even this year of birth may not be correct.

James' actual age has not been confirmed but it must be considered that he had been born before 1810. If the man outlined below was Elizabeth's husband, he would have been closer in age to 75 and this age is much more likely to be as was described in the newspaper report in 1869. It is speculation only that James had been transported but transportation must be considered. The arrest of his children was a typical family circumstance for many admissions to industrial schools at this time. A potential arrival, believed to be correct but based only on supposition and circumstantial evidence only, is outlined below.

It is considered almost certain that the man imprisoned for vagrancy in Bathurst Gaol on 14 November 1870, about a year after the arrests of the HOWARD sisters, and who was subsequently transferred to the Benevolent Asylum on 15 December 1870, was the girls' father.55 Which Benevolent Asylum is unclear but it is thought to have been one near Bathurst rather than the Sydney Benevolent Asylum as no record for this man has been found in the Sydney institution. This man was very probably the same man who, on 4 January 1871 at the stated age of 65, was admitted to Darlinghurst Gaol after an appearance for vagrancy at Hartley near Bathurst before Thomas BROWN.56 In Darlinghurst Gaol he was detained at the gaol hospital and was discharged on 10 February. James HOWARD was described as having arrived on the Susannah in 1835. He had been born in Bristol and was a Protestant.57 SRNSW identified only one ship named the Susannah and it had arrived in 1839. A search of convict transports however, identified James HOWARD, a farm servant, who had been transported on the Susan in 1835 for seven years for sheep stealing. He had been born in Gloucestershire and had been tried in Bristol on 8 April 1833. This transportee was already married with two children at the time of his transportation. The Susan indent recorded that he was 39 in 1835 so he had been born in about 1794.

This year of birth does not match those presumably provided by James on family registrations accessed by his descendants but because family researchers disagree on his age, it must be accepted that James made inconsistent and conflicting statements on available records. It is also almost certain that an aged man from the area known to be the abode of the HOWARD family has been tracked to these Sydney gaol admissions. Some of this information does match the documentation on the scant records available to his descendants as at this time due to his accent, one thing that James would likely have been unable to hide was an approximate birth location in England. The 1837 muster indicated that James HOWARD per the Susan had been indented to Thomas EVERNDEN in Bathurst58 and he had received his ticket of Leave in 1839 whilst a resident at Bathurst. He was still resident in Bathurst in 1841 when he received a certificate of freedom.59 Even though he had a family in England, it is likely that James would have been entitled to remarry after his arrival in NSW. It is also possible that he may not have known this or he may have felt unable to marry Elizabeth BURTON. It must also be considered that by making deliberate falsehoods, James may have intended to blur his past and eventually have effectively hidden his convict history from his neighbours or even from his family. The Susan (1835) transportee has therefore tentatively been identified as the father of the four Newcastle admissions.

No death record can be confirmed for James. He was alive in early 1871 but it is considered unlikely that he could have lived far past 1880 as by 1871 he would almost certainly have been close to eighty years of age. Only one potential death might refer to this man but only if an error has occurred on the NSW BDM Index. The registration in 187160 recorded the death of a 48-year-old man who died at Parramatta. Might this age actually state 78 years? There are three letters in the CSIL regarding the death of this man who was a resident of the gaol at the time of his death. These records will be retrieved to ascertain whether they add more information about the death. The death of James HOWARD in 1884 recorded the death of a 73-year-old man at Liverpool61 and it is believed that this man died at the Liverpool Asylum. Liverpool Asylum records indicated that this man had arrived aboard the Traitor.

Online trees are unreliable in their identification of and fate of James and Elizabeth's children and no trees have yet been found that provide references, actual birth, marriage or death dates or an accurate identification of the Newcastle admissions. They have not been relied on to formulate this biography of the Newcastle admissions.

At the time of her daughter's arrest in 1869 Elizabeth stated in court that '[s]he had had thirteen children, three of whom were dead; two of her daughters were in service and two of her sons helped to support her.'62 Identifying these children is ongoing and baptisms or registrations for only five have been confirmed on the NSW BDM Index. Online trees created by descendants of the HOWARD family also reflect difficulties in the complete identification of the family. Even if the three dead children were stillbirths, there should be evidence of at least ten children.

The only two baptisms confirmed are for the likely two eldest children of the couple. James was baptised in 184163 and Elizabeth was baptised in 184364 at the Holy Trinity Church of England at Kelso65 on the eastern side of Bathurst. It is possible that other children were baptised and the register that contained their baptisms has not survived or for some reason has been omitted from the NSW BDM Index. From 1856 the NSW BDM Index recorded birth registrations for three more children in Bathurst and on the index Elizabeth was recorded as Betsy. Clarifying the names of the HOWARD children is complicated by the fact that James and Elizabeth's son James, married Elizabeth KITT aka McKITT so their children also begin to appear on the NSW BDM Index and mingle with the names of their aunts and uncles. It is thought that this younger couple's first child was registered in 1869 as Dethia but only the actual registration66 will confirm the mothers' surname and therefore her identity and perhaps identify whether there were any older children. No online tree has identified that Lucy and Emma were registered as twins and this error has partly occurred because the twins were recorded with different ages on the death registration for their mother.67 The numbering of their birth registrations on the NSW BDM Index and newspaper statements referring to them as twins must be accepted as fact but the registrations have not been viewed. While it is not believed that Emma and Lucy were identical twins because the differences in their ages on Elizabeth's death registration suggested that they did not appear the same, but it also must be considered that the two girls were sisters registered at the same time to avoid a government fine for lack of registration. This assumption cannot be confirmed without the purchase of the registration and even then there is still the possibility of a deliberate falsehood having been made at the time the registration was made.

Elizabeth and James HOWARD's ten living children in 1869 were the seven children identified from birth registrations or from Elizabeth's death registration. The children were: James (1841-1909), Elizabeth (b.1843), John (c.1846-1929), Mary Ann (c.1849-1899), Harriet (c.1853-1929), Emma aka Emily Elizabeth (1861-1910) and Lucy (1861-aft.1877). Industrial School records identified two more daughters, Ann aka Hannah (c.1855-aft.1873) and Sarah (c.1857-1946) whose births were unregistered and who were not named on Elizabeth's death registration. Rachel (1858-1861) and Rachel (c.1862-1867) were two of the three deceased children. Of the thirteen children mentioned by Elizabeth in 1869, one deceased child and one living child remain unidentified. The correct name of the daughter Mary (c.1861-aft.1895), identified by Annie MELROSE in 1895, is currently unconfirmed and this woman may be an erroneous reference to Sarah, who was still alive in 1895 or perhaps Ann aka Hannah whose fate is currently unknown.

Another child may be the boy named William HOWARD (b.c.1845) who needs further investigation.

James and Elizabeth's daughter, Harriet, didn't marry but began a relationship with the Chinese immigrant Edward AHSEE. Her son, Alfie, was arrested in Dubbo in 1897 and was admitted to the Sobraon.68

James and Elizabeth's daughter, Elizabeth, may have been the Elizabeth HOWARD arrested by O'Connell police in August 1875 for obtaining goods with false pretences. She appeared at the Bathurst Quarter Sessions where she was sentenced to six months hard labour in Bathurst Gaol on 6 September 1875.69 She had been born in 1853 and was a native of the colony.70 Elizabeth may have been the victim of a rape in October 1889.71

It is likely that the Eliza HOWARD who was was mother to a Lucy Ann HOWARD – an illegitimate birth in 188072 that occurred in Bathurst, may have been Elizabeth HOWARD who had been born in about 1843. The child, Lucy Ann, was admitted to the Benevolent Asylum in 1895. It should also be considered that this Eliza HOWARD was actually Ann aka Hannah, the only one of the four girls admitted to Newcastle who is unaccounted for and who may have assumed another given name.

Note: Catherine Maria HOWARD (c.1871-1936) who married James FUNNELL is a very dubious connection made by some online trees. No birth for this woman has been located in 1871 but when she died in 1936 her father was identified as William on the NSW BDM Index. The only record that may identify her parents would be her marriage registration. Two online trees disagree on the names of her parents and it is considered that an 1871 birth would make her extremely unlikely child of James and Elizabeth and this researcher has not attributed Catherine to this family.


Ann's birth or baptism have not yet been identified on the NSW BDM Index as either Ann or Hannah. Her age at the time of her admission suggested that she had been born before compulsory registration in 1856. If this was the case then only a baptism would remain for her. In addition to the lack of a baptism Ann's name was omitted from the list of children identified on her mother's death registration73 and when she was admitted to Newcastle the records for her admission did not survive. These omissions have effectively meant that she appeared not to exist or belong to any family on the NSW BDM Index. It is possible that Ann married or commenced a relationship but tracing her and confirming her ancestry will prove extremely difficult for any descendants she may have had. The only written proof of Ann's connection to the HOWARD family on the O'Connell Plains and around Bathurst exists in the Bathurst Gaol records at the time just prior to the transfer of the sisters to Newcastle and in the widely published newspaper articles reporting on their arrest.

Ann had been in the school for more than a year when, in about April 1871, she escaped. Ann, Mary Ann MEEHAN and Lucy AH KIN absconded from the Newcastle Reformatory around 14 April.74

They were found inhabiting a deserted hut on the Minmi Creek between Minmi and Teralba and the trio spent a week living in a deserted hut in the bush at Minmi.75

The three girls were arrested by constable LEONARD of Wallsend Police after having been concealed by Thomas HAFEY and two other men. HAFEY was also arrested by LEONARD at Wallsend and received one month’s gaol for concealing an absconder. Ann's associates in this escape were two girls known to have been in the Newcastle Reformatory at this time and this circumstance suggests that for some reason she had been accommodated in the reformatory section of the school. Mary Ann was a reformatory admission and Lucy AH KIN had been temporarily placed in the reformatory whilst awaiting a trial. No proof other than the names of her associates has yet been found but George LUCAS had taken over as superintendent by this stage and he was far harsher in his dealings with the girls than the former superintendent, Joseph CLARKE. Ann's involvement in the April riot may have necessitated isolating her from other industrial school rioters and the reformatory was nearby and effectively removed her from influencing other inmates.

Ann and Mary Ann appeared in Newcastle Court on 21 April 1871, charged with destroying Government property in the riot of 14 April, but their trial was deferred until the following day as the superintendent, LUCAS, was at the Maitland Assizes.76 Ann appeared again on 22 April but the charge against her was withdrawn and she was returned to the school.77

After her transfer to Biloela in May 1871, Ann was listed as eligible for service in LUCAS's letter to the Colonial Secretary on 23 June 1871.78 On 5 February 1872, LUCAS confirmed that she had been discharged as an apprentice in his report. The name of her employer was not confirmed in this letter.79 It may have been Edward MOORE who lived on the property, Greenfields, Reedy Creek, near Singleton or she may have had an earlier apprenticeship that has not been identified. Ann absconded from her situation with MOORE some time around November 1872. The Maitland Mercury reported that Annie 'formerly an inmate of the Biloela Reformatory' brought a charge of rape against MOORE. MOORE’s arrest for a rape that reportedly took place in November 1872 occurred in January the following year80 and Annie appeared in Singleton Court in January 1873.81 The court concluded that:

the whole case appeared to be a trumpery affair, got up by the girl in revenge for Mr. MOORE applying for a warrant for [her] apprehension.

After Annie's cross-examination, no further witnesses were called. The bench decided that there was no case to be sent to the jury and dismissed the information.82

Where has She Gone?

No further confirmation of Ann had been located although many appearances for a woman of this name are recorded in the Darlinghurst Gaol records. No descriptions are available so it cannot be ascertained whether this woman was an appropriate age or whether her birth location would match what is known of Annie. Her admissions used the alias of HADLEY83 and HARTLEY84 and these names need further investigation. One of the women admitted to gaol had been born in about 1824.85

There are no appropriate deaths for an Ann, Anne, Anna, Hannah or Annie HOWARD. There are no confirmed gaol entrances for an Ann HOWARD, so while it possible that she appeared in Sydney courts from 1876 until about 1898 and subsequently went to gaol, this can't be proved. An Ann HARTLEY aka HADLEY appeared in Darlinghurst admissions on 28 May 1877, and 27 November 1882, but no descriptions are available86 and no trial details have yet been located. No ages have yet been identified in any court cases.

Ann may have been the mother of the illegitimate son, James T. HOWARD whose birth was registered in Sydney in 1885.87 This man may have been the James Jefferson HOWARD who died in Sydney in 1964.88

Ann cannot have married Charles William HORWOOD as Hannah Elizabeth HOWARD in 1871 as the Newcastle girl was still in her apprenticeship.

Ann was not identified on her mother's death registration89 so it is unknown whether she was still alive by 1895 or, like her sister Sarah, had been omitted.

The following women are interesting:
1. Nothing is known about the woman who married John TURNER (1864-1911) in Cootamumdra in 1883 as the one online tree available indicated that this family went to Western Australia and John died in South Australia. It may be that this woman was too young but no marriage registration has been viewed.
2. Ann was unlikely to have married (Thomas) John Edward FIELD (1856-1928) as Ann E. HOWARD at Nandi, Coonabarrabran, on 1 January 1876.90 Online trees vary her date of birth from between 1853 to 1858 but most identify that she had been born in Maitland. No parents were recorded on the marriage registration and no online trees identified any parents. When this woman died on 9 June 1937, her death was registered in Narrabri.

Online trees and research strongly suggest that Anne:
1. Did not marry Herbert BURGES in Maitland in 187491 as the parents of this woman don't match those of the Newcastle girl and her obituary indicated that she had been born at Camden in about 1854.92
2. The Annie HOWARD who married Samuel BROWN in Sydney in 1879 was recorded on the marriage registration as a widow. There was no further information on the registration but the marriage was celebrated at St James' Church, Sydney. There are no online trees for the couple. Only two children seem to have been born to the couple although they have not been confirmed. Florence Magdeline BROWN's birth was registered in Newtown in 1879 where Ann may have been recorded as Annie.93 Elizabeth R. BROWN's birth was registered in Balmain in 1881 where Ann may have been recorded as Anna.94


Husband Joseph EASTERBROOK b. 1850 m. 188195 d. 192896
Son Joseph Philip EASTERBROOK b. 188597 m. 1910 Florence Mary MONTGOMERY d. 1962
Daughter Hilda Ann EASTERBROOK b. 188998 m. 1909 William Ernest HOOKE d. 1953

Emma transferred to Biloela with her sisters in May 1871. On 16 April 1873, LUCAS requested permission to apprentice her for six years to Henry MURDOCK senior, of Cleveland Street, Redfern. She was to receive a shilling a week for the first two years, two shillings a week for the next two years and three shillings a week for the last two years. LUCAS described Emma as twelve years of age and stated that she was conducting herself well. The Colonial Secretary's comment cannot be easily read and it is believed to question the apprenticeship.

The apprenticing in Sydney is ad?allmed[?] which ?? to permit[?] ?? it is believed informed.

This apprenticeship didn't go ahead because on 14 May 1873, Emma was apprenticed to Mrs BAYLEY of Liverpool at the same rate of payment as arranged with MURDOCK and this apprenticeship was approved.99

Emma appears to have been remembered as or recorded as Emily within the family as this was the name recorded on the death certificate of her mother in 1895 where she was confirmed as living.100 She was certainly known and recorded as Emma during the time at the institution but she changed her given name in her later life. As Emily Elizabeth HOWARD, Emma married Joseph EASTERBROOK in Tamworth in 1881.101 Although the registration has not been viewed the likelihood that this was Emma's marriage has been confirmed by descendants of Emma's sister, Sarah. It is considered more than coincidence that one of the attendants at the birth of Sarah's son John, in Moree in 1887 was a Mrs EASTERBROOK.102 It is not known whether Emma's parents were recorded on her marriage registration but Joseph's do appear and are recorded on an online tree – now private. The couple resided at Boomi near Inverell.103

Online trees attribute James and Elizabeth as Emily's parents. One online tree that no longer functions, contained some very specific information suggesting registrations had been purchased. This tree stated that Joseph EASTERBROOK had been born on 4 September 1850, at Mulgoa, NSW. Joseph married Emily Elizabeth HOWARD, the daughter of James HOWARD and Elizabeth BURTON, on 25 October 1881, in the Presbyterian Church at Tamworth where he was living and working. Emma was at that time a domestic servant. She had been born on 17 October 1860, in Bathurst, NSW. The EASTERBROOKs had two children, Joseph who became a carpenter and mill owner and Hilda who married William Hook and had nine children.104

In 1885 Joseph senior was working in Eulowrie, a station on the coach route from Moree to Barraba which was then owned by Edward W. KING. In 1889 he was working as a carpenter at Boomi and he built his own house. In 1892 he purchased land in Moree and until at least 1895 continued to work in the area. In about 1900 one of the local landowners, C. F. BROUGHTON of Naroola, near Boomi, was involved with some building on his property. He stated, "I had not far to look for a carpenter, in fact he came to me, in a tilted cart with camp equipment for his small family. One son was a very helpful lad of about 14 or 15 years of age and there was no haggling about wages. Joe Easterbrook, a competent carpenter as I knew him to be, asked 13/- a day for himself and his son and I take it that was equal to the ruling wages of the day and what he had charged elsewhere."105 In 1900 Joe was working for G. W. LEADINGHAM at Wallon via Moree.106

The wife of Joseph EASTERBROOK died as Emma E. EASTERBROOK on 12 November 1910 at the age of 50. No parents were recorded at the time of her death but her maiden name was confirmed as HOWARD on the NSW BDM Index.107 Emma was buried on 13 November, 1910 in Boomi Cemetery, NSW.108

The EASTERBROOKs remained in their home at Boomi until 1922 when, apparently due to advancing age, Joseph sold the property to his son Joseph. He had sold his Moree property to his son some years earlier in 1911 shortly after the death of Emma. Joseph died in Garah near Boomi on 18 October 1928.109 He was buried on 19 October 1928 in Boomi Cemetery, NSW.110


Lucy transferred with her sisters to Biloela on Cockatoo Island in May 1871. On 29 October 1874, the Church of England clergyman, Robert WILLIS, at Campbelltown, requested on behalf of Henry MORRIS, of Redfern, Clerk in the Audit Office of the railway station specifically for 'Lucy Howard from Bathurst … [who] has been recommended to him'. If Lucy wasn't available, MORRIS was happy to take 'some other country girl.' WILLIS recommended Mr and Mrs MORRIS ensuring that they would treat Lucy with kindness and look after her well. The relieving superintendent, John DALE, sought and received permission for the four-year apprenticeship. Lucy was to be paid one shilling a week for the first year, two shillings a week for the second year and three shillings a week for the final two years. He stated that Lucy had been conducting herself well.111 She was discharged112 but about two weeks later, on 13 November, Lucy disobeyed the commands of Mrs MORRIS113 and was taken to court114 where her indentures were cancelled by mutual consent.115 Lucy pleaded guilty and expressed her determination not to return to MORRIS, preferring to be sent back to Biloela. She was readmitted to the school on 18 November.116

On 29 April 1876, Lucy was again apprenticed, this time to Mr Joseph TERRY of Campbelltown. An apprenticeship for two and a half years with Mr Benjamin WARBY had been arranged by Selina WALKER and approved by the Colonial Secretary. Lucy was to be paid two shillings a week for the first year and three shillings a week for the remainder of the time.117 This apprenticeship with WARBY was declined by him at the last moment 'on account of the misconduct to take her on account of the misconduct of her sister who lives next door to him.'118 The indentures with TERRY were for two years and six months but they were also cancelled due to misconduct and Lucy returned to Biloela on 15 January 1877.119 This return was confirmed by WALKER in her report written on 22 January.120 By this stage Lucy was seventeen. Nine months later Lucy escaped from the island with two Biloela inmates, Ada SOLOMON and Mary FEENEY.121 Once the girls had been missed, the superintendent, Selina WALKER, notified the Water Police, providing them with their names and descriptions. The girls were recaptured at about 9.30 on Sunday night and were returned to the Biloela. It was noted that Lucy and Ada had been on the island for more than nine years. Mary had only been at Biloela for two years.

Escape from Biloela.
On Saturday last, three girls named Lucy Howard, Ada Solomon, and Mary Feeney, inmates of the Biloela Reformatory, made their escape and came on to Sydney. Information of the "bolt" was at once given to the police authorities, and on Sunday night about half-past 9 o'clock, the runaways were found, "doing" Castlereagh-street. They were arrested and sent back to the reformatory. It is supposed that the girls escaped by the 8.20 p.m. Parramatta steamer, but according to their own recount, they swam off to the nearest shore. This is highly improbable.122

The use of the word 'reformatory' in this case is deceptive and even at the time the word was often used generically referring to the either of or the combined institutions. These girls were all admitted to the industrial school and although it is possible that there had been an internal transfer made to the Reformatory, all appear in the Discharge Register for the Industrial School. Additionally, no record of any transfer between the schools has yet been located. After their return to the island on 22 October, WALKER reported that they:

were placed in separate dormitories on bread and water diet.
Lucy Howard was yesterday 23rd Inst., was placed in a cell and refused this morning to come out. She will therefore be kept there until this evening when she will probably change her mind.

The location of the cells on Biloela referred to in this letter is unknown but further instructions from the Colonial Secretary instructed that:

[I]t will be better simply to keep the girls separate on restricted diet.

WALKER's response confirmed that '[T]hese instructions shall be attended to.'123

On 29 November 1877, Lucy was discharged from Biloela as she had turned eighteen. No notation was made in the records about where she may have gone and it is thought that she was simply released. Her discharge was confirmed by WALKER in her report on 3 December 1877.124

Where has She Gone?

No appropriate Police Gazette entries or gaol admissions have been found for anyone named Lucy and born between 1859 and 1863 other than the initial 1869 arrest details indicated above. It may be that Lucy was the mother to the illegitimate son, William HOWARD who was born in 1895.125 This registration has not been viewed.

It is almost certain that after her release Lucy adopted a new name and probably never registered a marriage. Lucy was recorded as a forty-year-old on the death registration for her mother, Elizabeth, in 1895 so it is believed that some contact was made after 1877. Because it is known that Lucy knew Ada SOLOMON and Mary FEENEY well, it is possible that she maintained a friendship with these woman but unless she is recorded in a Family Notice maintaining either of these relationships, this will be difficult to prove. No such connection has yet been identified.

Lucy was unlikely to have married:
Silas CROSS in 1888, as the wife of Silas CROSS had parents named Edward and Jane
Herbert LOMAS in 1898, as the wife of Herbert LOMAS had parents named Thomas and Emma

The marriage to Edward BRAY in 1892 is still under investigation.

The Lucy McHUGH who died in Bathurst in 1889 cannot be a reference to Lucy as the Bathurst Headstone Transcription CD from the BFHG indicated that this woman was a nun.


Note Two girls with this name were admitted to the Newcastle Industrial School. The girl from this family was the elder of the two, was arrested from Bathurst and was discharged from Biloela at the age of 18 and was not returned to her family. Only this Sarah transferred to Biloela in May 1871 as the younger Sarah HOWARD (2) was discharged to her father in January 1871.

Husband John STEPHENS b. 1858126 m. 1880127 d.
Daughter Sarah STEPHENS b. 1883128 m. 1906129 Thomas MOBBS d. 1961130
Son John STEPHENS b. 1887131 m. d. 1953132
Son Alfred STEPHENS b.c. 1890133 m. Eveline Ruth PETERSON d. 1917134
Son Joseph STEPHENS b. 1893135 m. d. 1947136
Son Howard STEPHENS b. 1895137 m. none - d. 1897138
Daughter Lilly STEPHENS b. 1898139 m. 1926140 James T. H. PARKER d.

Even though Sarah was born after compulsory registration in 1856 her birth was not registered. In addition her name was omitted from the list of children identified on her mother's death registration141 even though she was still alive. When she was admitted to Newcastle the records for her admission did not survive and when she married no parents were recorded on the marriage registration. These omissions have effectively meant that she appeared not to exist or belong to any family on the NSW BDM Index. This has made tracing her and confirming her ancestry extremely difficult for her descendants. The only written proof of her connection to the HOWARD family on the O'Connell Plains and around Bathurst exists in the Bathurst Gaol records at the time just prior to the transfer of the sisters to Newcastle and in the widely published newspaper articles reporting on their arrest.

Shortly after the school arrived at Biloela on Cockatoo Island, Sarah was the thirteen-year-old girl recorded on LUCAS’s list of girls eligible for apprenticeship.142 She was recorded as ‘In the Institution’ on LUCAS’s list compiled in April 1872.143 At the age of fourteen on 29 January 1872, Sarah was apprenticed to Mr. Henry MOORE, of the Hunter River. It is unknown whether there was a connection between Henry MOORE and Edward MOORE, Annie's master. Sarah's apprenticeship was to be for four years and she was to be paid a shilling a week for the first year, two shillings a week for the next two years and three shillings a week for her final year. LUCAS confirmed her admission date and stated that Sarah had 'generally conducted herself well.'144 This apprenticeship was cancelled and Sarah was returned to the school but the date of her return, like her initial admission to the school, would have appeared in the section of the Entrance Book that has not survived. An appropriate letter explaining why the return occurred has not yet been located and because it occurred at the time of the superintendency of LUCAS is considered unlikely to exist. Sarah, Mary CASHER, Jane WINSOR, Phoebe WILEY, and three Biloela girls145 were involved in an altercation with the matrons on Biloela on 26 November 1872, when they barricaded the door of No. 3 dormitory with their bedsteads and refused admission at lights out at 9 o’clock. They remained barricaded in the dormitory until the morning of 28 November when they voluntarily removed the blockage. LUCAS didn't elaborate on any punishment the girls may have received.146

On 17 July 1873 LUCAS again reported that Sarah was discharged as an apprentice to Mrs Emily OXLEY, the wife or mother of Henry OXLEY,147 of Hunter’s Hill.148 She was to receive two shillings a week for the first year and three shillings a week for the second year. He confirmed Sarah's arrest details and that she was currently aged sixteen in a further letter written on 7 July 1873. The Colonial Secretary approved the apprenticeship three days later.149 Sarah was returned to Biloela from this apprenticeship on 29 September 1874 and this return was confirmed by John DALE, the Temporary Officer in Charge in his report on 5 October 1874.150 Sarah had run away and appeared at the Ryde Police Court where her indentures were cancelled. No newspaper report of this appearance has been located. Mrs OXLEY stated to the Constable who found and returned Sarah to her that she would not pay 'one fraction of her wages untill I am compelled to do so.' On 23 October a letter was written by DALE to Mrs OXLEY concerning a complaint made against her by Sarah. Sarah stated that she had received no wages for the fourteen months when she was apprenticed to the OXLEY family and was owed 6 pound and eleven shillings. She also complained that Mrs OXLEY had kept her clothing. DALE told Mrs OXLEY that he required a response otherwise he would need to take the matter to the Colonial Secretary and on 3 November this he did. On 11 December Mrs OXLEY responded with a comprehensive list of very high quality clothing for which she stated that she had paid eighteen pound, twelve shillings and nine pence. She unfortunately had no receipts. The list was made up of sixteen pairs of boots, three of which were kid, seven dresses, two hats, three pairs of stays, two petticoats, six hair nets, ten pairs of stockings, 3 pairs of gloves, six handkerchiefs, a silk jacket and various items such as collars and cuffs, ribbons and aprons. OXLEY stated that Sarah still had some of her own clothes at the house that she would forward on if they were applied for. DALE responded to the Colonial Secretary that:

I beg leave leave respectfully to state that the statement offered by this lady is in direct opposition to the acknowledgement made to Constable Turner of the Water Police Force who took the girl back to this Lady on the 27th September last "that she wanted to know what was "to be done with her wages this girl was readmitted on the 29th September two days after this assertion.
Admitting that this girl behaved in the manner described in this lady's letter, she had a remedy, wherewith she might have easily availed herself of, for I advised that lady some time ago what steps to to take on the matter however it seems this lady was quite satisfied with the girl in retaining her for fourteen months and then not giving her a penny of wages, the clothes alluded to she was [?] to furnish from the terms of the agreement

The Colonial Secretary stated:

Mrs Oxley may be furnished with a copy of the enclosed letter from W. Blaxland J.P. and informed that it is necessary that she should [?] show that she has paid the amount to which Sarah Howard was entitled[?] under her indentures, or make payment of the amount.151

No further details of this disagreement have yet been found but as the Colonial Secretary believed that Sarah should have received her wages, it is likely that OXLEY was compelled to pay them. Sarah remained on Biloela after this incident and on 25 January 1875, DALE reported that she had been released because she had reached the age of eighteen.152 It is expected that Sarah was released directly onto the streets of Sydney but no evidence has been found for this and it may not be the case.

It is unknown how Sarah gained employment on the North Coast of NSW. She may have answered an advertisement or found an employer through connections that she had made either within or outside the school. By some means she gained employment as a domestic servant and moved north. Some time before 1880 she was working as a domestic servant on Palmer's Island on the Clarence River. On 26 January 1880 at the Manse at Rocky Mouth, now Maclean, Sarah married John STEPHENS who was also a resident of Palmer's Island. No parents were identified for either participant. The witnesses to the marriage were almost certainly connected to the Presbyterian minister, Duncan McINNES.153

The couple moved frequently around northern NSW and southern Queensland where John worked as a miner and where their children were born.154 Sarah took Felix PEDRON, a neighbour, to court at Mudgee in August 1916 charging him with using offensive words. Her husband and daughter Lilly were witnesses but untimately the case was dismissed. The family were living near Gunnell Creek near Merrendee near Mudgee at the time of the case.155 An earlier appearance was dismissed.156

Sarah's death was registered as Sarah STEPHENS in Portland, NSW. She died of bowel cancer on 28 September 1946, at the age of 90 and her death registration confirmed that her parents were James HOWARD and Betsy BURTON. Sarah was buried in the Church of England Cemetery at Rylstone.157

Updated January 2019

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