The Marshall Orphans

Charles Henry Marshall and his siblings had eventful early lives. Their parents, William Marshall and Louisa Bentall, married in 1810, just prior to moving to Cape Town where they had four children. They then moved to Mauritius where they had five more children. Only six of the children lived to adulthood, and the family story was that three of those born in Cape Town, Mary, John and Charles, died as infants.

Louisa died in 1823 in Mauritius, after which the family relocated to Leith, Scotland, where William also died in 1828 without leaving a will. The family stories were that this left the children destitute and they had to be supported by their wider family.

William’s probate documents revealed a very different story and prompted further research that provided a lot more information on the family’s time in Cape Town and Mauritius, their return to England, and the support the children received from their wider family after being orphaned in 1828.

From this we see that, although Charles Henry Marshall had travelled the world by the time he was ten and had suffered a great deal of family upheaval, he was still given a solid foundation for life. And there is a link to Burke and Wills.

The probate documents (with transcriptions) and the corrected family story, including some fascinating documents from the Benthall family archive, can be found HERE


©Alun Stevens 2018

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