The Benton Family

Thomas Christopher HOWE

John William BENTON was born 24 October 1857 in Richmond, Victoria. He married Mary Agnes HOWE in 1886 in Richmond, Melbourne. This page covers the life of Mary's grandfather Thomas Christopher HOWE, baptised in Threlkeld, Cumberland but raised in Glossop in the Peak District before emigrating to Australia with most of his family in about 1840.

Robert HOWE=v===Sarah COCKBAINE Thomas GREENHOW==v==Sarah NELSON   
1706-1798 m:1759  1733-1806                    m:1749
            |                                    |
     Christopher Thomas===========v=======Sarah GREENHOW   Joseph WILLIAMS==v==?
        1765-1849               m:1788       1761-1824                      |
                                  |                                         |
    |---------|---------|---------|--------------|                          |
  Robert    Sarah      Ann      Jane     Thomas Christopher====v======Hannah WILLIAMS 
1790-1867 1796-1872 1798-1877 1801-1881      1793-1867       m:1819
    |         |          |        |                            |
     |---------|---------|-------|---------|-------------------|----------|---------|---- -----------|------------------|
  Joseph  Christopher Rowland  Joseph    Henry              William    Matilda    Eliza            Martha            Edward
1820-1821  1821-1860 1822-1897 1824-?  1826-1899           1828-1900  1830-1874 1834-1905        1836-1868          1840-1900
  (Eng)      (Aus)     (Eng)   (Aus)     (Eng)              (Aus/NZ)    (Eng)     (Eng)            (Aus)              (Aus) 
    |          |         |       |         |                    |         |         |                |                  |
               |--------|        |         |                    |         |                          |                  |
            m1:1849  m2:1857   m:1851    m:1861               m:1862    m:1856                     m:1857             m:1867
            Eleanor   Sarah     Mary     Louisa               Emily     William                    James             Susannah
            EMERSON  CRAWFORD  ROWAND   SKARRATT               DAY      ELLEKER                   BUSHELL            TALBOT
           1820-1857    |    1823-1896 1841-1881            1844-1922 1826-1903                  1833-1870          1828-1914
            |                    |         |                    |         |                          |                  |
            |         |6 children|    (6 children)              |         |                          |                  |
            |         |                                         |         |                          |                  |
   |--------|         |           |---------|---------|---------|         |         |--------|-------|         |--------|
 Hannah   Thomas    Mary        Alfred   Rowland   William    Edwin     Henry   Hannah   Mary     Thomas     Albert    Anna
1850-1917 1855-? 1854-1916    1862-1863 1863-1892 1865-1941 1867-1934 1857-1934 1858-? 1860-1875 1863-1927 1870-1918 1873-1960
   |                 |         |         |         |            |         
 m:1869            m:1887
 Lazarus        John William
 TANNER           BENTON 
1848-1909            |
    |            Reginald James
                Elizabeth Iris

Thomas Christopher HOWE 1793-1867

The parish records tell us that Thomas HOWE was born to Rev. Christopher and Sarah HOWE in 1793 and baptised at the parish church at Threlkeld, Cumberland on 20 August 1793. The family soon moved to Glossop, Derbyshsire, where Christopher had been appointed the local vicar. The life of Rev Christopher HOWE can be read here.

Thomas became a draper. He may have learnt this trade in Nottingham as he married there in 1819 before moving to Manchester at the Old Shambles location of Smithy Door (now long demolished). By 1826 he was back in Glossop operating a draper's shop at Bridge End in the centre of the town.

Two views of Smithy Door, Manchester in 1820 at the time Thomas HOWE was a draper here.

Thomas married Hannah Williams at St Swithun's Church, East Retford Nottingham on 1 July 1819. Thomas was 23 and Hannah 19. They had 10 children, nine in England and the youngest in Melbourne, Australia.

Joseph Born Smithy Door Manchester
Bap 2 July 1820 Glossop
bur 16 January 1821: Manchester
Christopher Thomas Born 20 August 1821 Smithy Door, Manchester
Bap 5 April 1822; Glossop
Died 19 June 1860; Ballarat, Victoria
Rowland Born 24 December 1822; Manchester
bap 28 Dec 1822; Glossop
Bur 21 October 1897, Peel Green Cemetery, Salford
Joseph Williams Born 27 July 1824; Manchester
bap 3 October 1824; Glossop
Henry Bap 21 May 1826; Glossop Jun 1899 Manchester
William Richard bap 26 January 1828; Glossop 22 August 1900; Foxton New Zealand
Matilda Ellen bap 15 November 1830; Glossop 1874, Victoria, Australia
Eliza Mary bap 7 January 1834; Glossop Buried 28 May 1905 Southern Cemetery, Manchester (probable date)
Edward Melbourne Born 5 July 1840; Sydney? Australia
Bap 7 August 1840, St James, Sydney
1900 Bendigo Hospital, Victoria, Australia


1820 baptism for Joseph HOWE at Glossop

1821 burial for Joseph at Manchester.

1822 baptism for Christopher HOWE at Glossop

1822 baptism for Rowland HOWE at Glossop.

1824 baptism for Joseph Williams HOWE at Glossop

1826 baptism for Henry HOWE at Glossop.

1828 baptism for William HOWE at Glossop

1830 baptism for Matilda HOWE at Glossop.

1834 baptism for Eliza Mary HOWE at Glossop

1836 baptism for Martha Ann HOWE at Glossop.
Emigration to Melbourne

According to his death certificate in 1867, Thomas had been in the colony of Victoria, Australia for 27 years, thus arriving in 1839-1840. This date is just before the availability of immigration records but he was accompanied by his wife Hannah and only some of their children. We are certain that Christopher (18), Joseph (15), William (11) and Martha(3) accompanied them. The first Joseph had died in 1821. For some unknown reason Rowland (17), Matilda (9) and Eliza Mary (5) remained in England, living with grandparents (HOWE and WILLIAMS). We are less certain about Henry (13) but he probably remained in England as there are no records for him in Australia. He is shown to be alive on Thomas' death certificate in 1867. If Henry did remain in England he did not live with any of the grandparents. The family in Australia must have kept in contact as Rowland, Eliza, Matilda and Henry are listed as alive on father Thomas' death certificate in 1867.

Soon after their arrival in Australia, Thomas and Hannah had another child. This birth was registered in Sydney in 1840. There is a baptism for an Edward Melbourne HOWE at St James Church Sydney, on 7 August 1840 showing birth date of 5 July 1840. However, it appears that the birth was also registered in Melbourne as there is a record for an Edward Melbourne HOWE in 1840 there also. Perhaps the child was born on the ship, baptised on arrival of the ship in Sydney and later registered in Melbourne. There does not appear to have been two children of this name born to parents Thomas and Hannah.

By 1847 the family had settled in Geelong Victoria, a town southwest of Melbourne and on the western shore of Port Philip Bay. Sons Christopher and Joseph were confectioners and by 1850 were living in Corio St, Geelong, the main street in the town.

Hannah HOWE (née WILLIAMS) died on 24 November 1864 at Point Henry, Geelong.

Thomas Christopher HOWE died at 2.30 am on 7 August 1867 at Breakwater, Geelong (an inner suburb adjacent to the racecourse). The informant at death was James BUSHELL, Thomas' son-in-law who had married Martha HOWE in 1857.

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The Children of Thomas Christopher HOWE and Hannah WILLIAMS

Christopher Thomas HOWE 1821-1860

Christopher Thomas was the second child of Thomas and Hannah (but the oldest Joseph had died soon after birth). He was born at Smithy Door, Manchester (once part of the Shambles but now long demolished) on 20 August 1821 but not baptised until 5 April 1822 at Glossop by his grandfather (as were nearly all the grandchildren). Christopher would have been about 18 when the family emigrated to Melbourne Australia.

Soon after arrival in Melbourne the family moved west to Geelong. By 1847 brothers Joseph and Christopher had set up a shop as confectioners on the main street in Geelong:

It appears the brothers did not remain in partnership for long. In 1855 Christopher obtained possession of the Queensberry Hotel, Madeline St, (now Swanston St) North Melbourne and after evicting the incumbent Mr Hawkins, applied for and eventually obtained a liquor licence. Christopher did not operate the hotel for long as the licensee in 1859 was Lachlan Robertson and in 1860 was Thomas EMERSON. (We will meet Thomas later - Christopher married his sister Eleanor.) The Queensberry Hotel still exists on the same site, but was rebuilt in 1890 by Mr Patrick FAGAN, who notoriously committed suicide in the hotel in 1889. The hotel's fortunes increased when Carlton United opened a brewery next door in 1864.

Christopher Howe's application for a liquor licence

Reputed to be the original Queensberry Hotel near the time of Christopher's interest in it

A view along Madeline St in 1872

The rebuilt Queensberry Hotel as it is today
Marriage to Eleanor Elliot EMERSON

Christopher married Eleanor Elliot EMERSON at the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel at Port Philip Melbourne on 4 April 1849. Eleanor had arrived in Sydney with her brother Thomas and sister Isabella on the ship "Champion" on 12 February 1842 and after about 5 years in Sydney the siblings moved to Melbourne. You can read about the EMERSON siblings before returning here to continue Christopher's story.

Christopher and Eleanor had two children:

Hannah Mary 1850; Geelong
Thomas Christopher 1855; Melbourne
Death of Eleanor HOWE

Two years after Thomas was born Eleanor succumbed to tuberculosis - comsumption. She died at Ryrie St, Geelong on 14 July 1857. The witness was a Patrick COURTNEY, baker who "resided in the same house with deceased's husband". She was only 37.

Death certificate for Eleanor Howe
Marriage to Sarah CRAWFORD

Soon after Eleanor had died, Christopher married Sarah CRAWFORD at Little River, Geelong, on 24 December 1857. Eleanor had been diagnosed with TB over 2 years earlier so her death was expected. At that time Christopher had two young children aged nearly 7 and 2. Just before he married, he had his daughter Hannah Mary baptised at Christ Church, Geelong. In that record his occupation was draper. Why did he arrange the baptism when Hannah was 7? Perhaps his new bride insisted, before they married.

Baptism certificate for Hannah Howe. The date of birth is clealy wrong, as Hannah's birth was recorded in the civil register in 1850.

It appears that Christopher was not doing well in his various business ventures. He held the licence for the Queensberry Hotel for only a short while in 1855. His wife died in 1857 and he remarried. In November 1859 he was working as a pastry cook but had become effectively bankrupt. Rather than declare bankrupcy he assigned all his "book debts, stock in trade and all other estate and effects" to Thomas EMERSON and Edmund HOWARTH. Thomas was of course his brother-in-law, brother of his recently departed wife.

The Age, Melbourne 12 Dec 1859 page 1.
NOTICE is hereby given that by an indenture of assignment, bearing date the 2 nd day of No- vember, A D. 1859, and made between Christopher Thomas Howe, of the city of Melbourne, in the colony of Victoria, pastrycook, of the first part ; Thomas Emerson, of Melbourne aforesaid, publican, and Edmund Frank Howath, of Geelong, in the colony aforesaid; merchant of the second part ; and the several persons named in the first schedule to the said indenture of assignment, of the third part: the said. Christopher Thomas Howe did grant, bargain, sell, and assign all his book debts and stock in trade and all other his estate and effects unto the said Thomas Emerson and Edmund Frank Howarth their executor administrators, and assigns upon certain trusts for the benefit of all the creditors of the said Christopher .Thomas Howe; and that the said indenture of oassignment was ;duly executed by all the parties thereto of the tirst and second part, in the presence of Edward Khull, Esq. one of her Majesty's Justices of the Peace for the said colony, according to the provisions of an Act of the Governor arid Legislative Council. of New South Wales, made and passed in the fifth year of the reign of her present Majesty Queen Victoria No, 9, instituted "An Act for the further amendment of the law and for the better advancement of justice." And notice is hereby further given that the said indenture of assignment is how lying at the office of Messrs H. Morris and Co., estate agents, No. 2 Flinders lane west, Mel bourne aforesaid, for inspection and execution. Dated this 23rd day of November, A D. 1859 ChRlSTOPHER THOMAS HOWE. THOMAS EMERSON. EDMUND FRANK HOWARTH. Witnesses— Edmund Khull, J.P. Death certificate for Eleanor Howe
Christopher's death in Ballarat

It would appear that soon after assigning his effects and debts to Thomas EMERSON, Christopher went off to the goldfields in Ballarat. As a pastry cook he should have found ready work there. However his time in Ballarat was short0lived. He died of "hydrothorax" - fluid on the lungs - on 19 June 1860.

Death notice for Christopher Howe at Ballarat

The fate of his second wife Sarah (CRAWFORD) and his son Thomas are unknown. His daughter Hannah Mary married Lazarus TANNER in 1869 and they had 10 children.

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Rowland HOWE 1822-1897 & Eliza Mary HOWE 1834-1905

Rowland was born to Thomas and Hannah on 24 December 1822 in Manchester (possibly Smithy Door) and baptised a few days later on 28 Decemebr 1822 by his grandfather Rev HOWE at Glossop.

Similarly, Eliza Mary HOWE was born in Glossop and baptised there on 7 January 1834.

Rowland and Eliza lived together all of their lives so their stories can be told together. Rowland and Eliza did not accompany their parents when Thomas and Hannah emigrated to Melbourne in about 1840. They remained in Glossop with their grandfather and three spinster aunts. They are in the 1841 census at Glossop. In the 1851 census, Christopher the grandfather had died. Rowland and Eliza were now living with their aunts. He is recorded as a "student of St Bee's Clerical College, Cumberland. St Bee's was the first clerical college established to train people for the Anglican ministry. It was based at St Bee, a small, isolated village on the Cumberland coast.

1841 census for Rowland and Eliza HOWE living with their grandfather at Glossop

1851 census for Rowland and Eliza living with their aunts at Glossop.

Rowland was to remain a clerical student for over 30 years. He never did become an ordained minister and never held a paying job. For a few years he assisted his grandfather with his clerical duties, filling in the parish registers in his distinctive handwriting. He appears to have been a diligent worker and the registers have many small notes added by Rowland. He held the clerk role from the beginning of February 1846 through to the end of December 1849. He recorded his grandfather's death in the register on 7 September 1849.

Examples of Rowland hand script: burial of his grandfather

Burial of the Bennett family from cholera.

In 1861, 1871 and 1881 Rowland and Eliza remained at Glossop with their aunts.

1861 census for Rowland and Eliza HOWE at Glossop

1871 census for Rowland and Eliza living with their aunts at Glossop.

1881 census for Rowland and Eliza living with their aunts at Glossop.

By 1891 all of the aunts had died, so Rowland and Eliza were now living near to Manchester. .

1891 census for Rowland and Eliza at Watson St, Gorton.

Rowland died in 1897 and was buried at Peel Green Cemetery Salford, Manchester. His sister, now alone, appears to have boarded with a local family, she is in the 1901 census at Siddall St, Manchester.

1901 census for Eliza HOWE at Siddall St, Manchester.

Eliza Mary HOWE died in 1905 and was buried 28 March 1905 at Southern Cemetery, Manchester.

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Joseph Williams HOWE 1824-?

Joseph Williams HOWE was born in Manchester 27 July 1824 and baptised by his grandfather at Glossop on 3 October 1824. The name Joseph had been used earlier for his older brother, who had died when only a few months old. Joseph Williams emigrated to Melbourne with his family in about 1840.

There is more about his life here.

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Henry HOWE 1826-?

Henry was baptised at Glossop on 21 May 1826. He married Louisa Caroline SKARRATT at Claines, Worcester in 1861 so clearly did not accompany his parents to Australia. Henry is not with his brother Rowland and sister Eliza with their grandfather Rev Christopher HOWE in the 1841 census nor with his sister Martha with the WILLIAMS grandparents in Nottingham. The marriage report tells us he went to California for a while but returned before 1861.

The notice of marriage in the newspaper comfirms we have the correct Henry HOWE.

1861 marriage report for Henry HOWE marrying Louisa Caroline SKARRATT

There is more of Henry's life story here

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William Richard HOWE 1828-1900

William Richard was the sixth child of Thomas and Hannah. He was baptised at Glossop on 28 January 1828. William definitely accompanied his family to Melbourne in 1840, as he married Emily DAY in Geelong in 1862. William and Emily had three children before they packed up and moved to New Zealand aboard the ship South Australian in March 1866. They had a further child in New Zealand. William settled on farmland at Motoa near Palmerston North.

Alfred 1892; Victoria 29 April 1863; Geelong
Rowland 1863; Melbourne 1892: Westport, New Zealand
William Henry 1865; Melbourne 31 March 1941: Auckland, New Zealand
Edwin Alfred 7 November 1867; New Zealand 3 July 1934: Palmerson North, New Zealand

William died on 22 August 1900 and is buried in the Foxton Cemetery, New Zealand

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Matilda Ellen HOWE

Matilda Ellen HOWE was baptised at Glossop on 15 November 1830. It would appear that she also did not emigrate to Melbourne as she can be found in the 1841 and 1851 censuses living with her maternal grandparents in East Retford, Nottingham.

1841 census for Matilda HOWE with her grandparents at East Retford, Nottingham.

1851 census for Matilda Howe still with her grandparents.

Matilda married William ELLERKER at St Mowden Church, Burton upon Trent on 22 March 1856. William was living in St Pancras, London at the time and Matilda at Stapenhill, Burton. I do not know what occupation Matilda had in Stapenhill.
I can find only one child - Henry James Williams ELLERKER - born June 1857 in Bamsbury, London, but baptised 23 November 1857 at Glossop. By this date Matilda's grandfather Rev Christopher HOWE had died but her brother, sister and three aunts still lived in Glossop.

1856 marriage for Matilda Howe and William ELLERKER at St Mowden's, Burton upon Trent.

1857 baptism for Henry ELLERKER at Glossop.

William and Matilda travelled extensively around England. William was born in Kirkby Moorside, Yorkshire in 1827 but was living in London working as a "ham factor" when he married Matilda in 1856 (his father was a ham merchant in Kirkymoorside, Yorkshire). In 1861 they wre living in Lewes, Sussex and William was a draper (as was Matilda's father Thomas). By 1871 they were living with William's mother in Kirkby Moorside where William had been born and William was a "retired draper".

1861 census for Matilda and William ELLERKER at St Thomas on the Cliffe, Lewes, Sussex.

1871 census for Matilda and William, now back in Kirkby Moorside Yorkshire.

Matilda Ellen ELLERKER (née HOWE) died in 1874 and was buried at Kirkbymoorside on 15 November 1874.

1874 burial for Matilda ELLERKER at Kirkymoorside, Yorkshire.

William ELLERKER disappears from the records for a few years. He is not in the 1881 census. By 1891 he was back in London working as a bookkeeper, but by 1901 he was in the Union Workhouse, Edmonton London. The workhouse had been built in 1842 and was designed for 500 inmates. It was on the corner of Bull Lane and Bridport Road in Edmonton but was demolished and is now a carpark.

William died in London in late 1903.

William and Matilda's son Henry James Williams ELLERKER similarly disappears. He does not appear to have married and is not obvious in subsequent censuses. There is a suggestion he may have changed his name to ELLERTON and died in 1934.

1891 census for William ELLERKER in London.

1901 census for William in the Edmonton Workhouse.

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Martha Ann HOWE 1836-1868

Martha Ann HOWE was born in Glossop in 1836 and baptised there by her grandfather on 30 April 1836. She accompanied her parents to Melbourne as she married at Moorabool River, Victoria on 25 November 1857 to James Thomas BUSHELL. We can be certain of this connection as James T. BUSHELL is shown as the informant on Thomas's death certificate in 1867. James BUSHELL had been born in1833 in Kent, England to Thomas James BUSHELL, miller and Mary WHITE.

1857 marriage announcement for Martha HOWE.

Martha and James had three children:

Hannah Maria 1858; Victoria
Mary Ann 1860; Victoria 1875, Victoria
Thomas James 1863; Victoria 27 July 1927; Kew, Melbourne

James BUSHELL, together with his brother-in-law Christopher Thomas HOWE tried his hand at the business of being a publican. At one time he held the licence on several pubs around Melbourne and Geelong, but.... in 1865 he went bust and there are a succession of newspaper articles documenting his appearances in the Insolvency Court in Melbourne. By 1866 he applied to the same court to be discharged. His downfall was the Clyde Hotel, near Bannockburn, about 30km along the Geelong to Ballarat road. The hotel was built to service the large number of travellers heading to the Ballarat goldfields. According to various historical records:

"there were various references to James Thomas Bushell of the Clyde Hotel throughout 1863, before a publican's license was granted to Thomas Howe in April, 1864. On 11th September, 1865 however a sale of all the goods, stock, furniture and livestock associated with the Clyde was announced in the Geelong Advertiser, the entire inventory itemised room by room, item by item. The reason given was the insolvency of James Bushell. (Who incidentally had made a number of land purchases in the parish the previous year.) Then, on 7th December 1865, Thomas Howe published his intention to transfer his publican's license for the hotel to John Henry Jones. From this, I am led to suspect that whilst I found no mention of the sale of the hotel itself, Bushell was the property owner and Howe his tenant. Consequently, when Bushell became insolvent, Howe had to go."

1865 Newspaper notice for James BUSHELL

1865 Newspaper notice for James BUSHELL

1865 Newspaper notice for James BUSHELL

1866 Newspaper notice for James BUSHELL application for a Certificate of Discharge

Death of Martha Ann HOWE: The next tragedy in James BUSHELL's life was the death of his wife Martha Ann in May 1868. Martha Ann was buried at the Leopold Cemetery, Geelong on 11 May 1868. Martha was only 32 and left three children aged 9, 7 and 6.

A few years later, James BUSHELL married Mary Ann KNIGHT on 30 September 1869 at St Paul's, Geelong. The marriage was shortlived - James Thomas BUSHELL died 21 April 1870 in Geelong Hospital and was buried 23 April 1870 at Geelong.

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Edward Melbourne HOWE

Edward Melbourne HOWE was born soon after Thomas and Hannah arrived in Australia. With the name of "Melbourne" we could presume he was born in Melbourne soon after arrival, and indeed there is a birth registered in Melbourne in 1840. But there is also a birth for Edward Melbourne HOWE registered in Sydney in 1840, and a baptism for an Edward Melbourne HOWE at St James Church Sydney, on 7 August 1840 showing his birth date of 5 July 1840. However, it appears that the birth was also registered in Melbourne as there is a record for an Edward Melbourne HOWE in 1840 there also. Perhaps the child was born on the ship, baptised on arrival of the ship in Sydney and later registered in Melbourne. There does not appear to have been two children of this name born to parents Thomas and Hannah.

Whereever he was born he definitely resided in Victoria. In April 1865 he applied for the licence for the White Horse Hotel, Queenscliffe Rd Geelong. He was recorded as a farmer at Point Henry. In May 1866 he and James Thomas BUSHELL {his cousin) appeared in Court on a charge of assault. It appears the pair were recovering stolen cattle, armed with the written authority of the sherrif, but the holder of the cattle objected and a scuffle ensued. The case was dismissed before all evidence had been heard.

Edward married Susannah TALBOT in Victoria in 1867. Like many he was drawn by the allure of gold and in March 1870 Edward applied for a gold mining licence on a claim in Bendigo. This did not last long, as he became a prominent farmer at Huntly Hills, Sandhurst. In 1875 he obtained another land grant in Huntly.

Edward and Susannah (also known as Susan) had two children:

Albert Edward HOWE 1870; Victoria 1918 Victoria
Anna Victoria 14 April 1873, Iron Bark, Bendigo, Victoria 1960

Edward Melbourne HOWE died on 4 October 1900 in Bendigo Hospital and was buried on 6 October in the White Hills Cemetery. Sussanah died 28 September 1914 in Webster St, Bendigo.

It appears that their children Albert and Anna married the MUNRO siblings. Albert married Elizabeth MUNRO on 3 December 1902 at Bendigo and Anna married Alexander MUNRO in 1908.

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Last updated: 20/04/2020