While researching our paper, The Wrong Marshall, Megan met Tim Benthall on an online forum. This was fortunate as Tim has provided us with a lot of invaluable information and a number of family documents that we could not have obtained otherwise. Our favourite is what we call “The Analogue Photograph“. This was a document signed by all the descendants of Dorothy Marshall (neé Chadder), the wife of Dr. William Marshall, who were present at her 80th birthday function on 29 August 1822, before the invention of cameras. We both enjoyed working with him.
Tim was working on a book about his Benthall ancestors that is now complete and has been published. PORTRAITS of a MERCHANT FAMILY is an elegant and impressive book in coffee table format available on Amazon:
Benthall Hall is a National Trust property in Shropshire. It contains about 70 portraits that depict eight generations of a single family, together with their many relatives. The two portraits on the front cover are of William Bentall and Dr. William Marshall. They met in Devon and became friends in around 1760, one a young merchant and the other a medical student. They remained friends for life, and became the patriarchs of that large extended family. Their children and grandchildren intermarried, and in the 19th century this clan exemplified the importance of “incest and influence” in maintaining a successful merchant class (as engagingly described by the anthropologist Adam Kuper in his book of that title). Its most successful members sometimes brushed with greatness, becoming entrepreneurs or civil servants in the British government and its colonies. Several others lived colourful but less respectable lives. The author draws on public and private documents to bring this family to life and show how, for better or worse, they lived through the political and social developments of the 19th and 20th centuries.
Any net profits from sales of the book will be donated to the National Trust.
The Author Notes state:
T. P. Benthall was born in Calcutta (now Kolkata) in West Bengal and educated in England. After graduating from Cambridge University with a degree in Mathematics, he spent over fifty years working with computers, as an operations research analyst, management consultant and executive at a computer software company, before being coaxed into becoming a genealogist and amateur social historian.
Whilst the book is primarily about the Benthall family, it is also a wonderful source of pithy information about the Marshall, the Adams, the Drake and the other families who joined together to further their own joint interests. It is meticulously researched and presented and definitely a must read for anyone with an interest in these families.
The book is previewed here on the Amazon US site. If you wish to buy it, you will need to find it on your local Amazon site.
Having returned to England following the end of the Crimean War, the Drakes settled down to enjoying the many attractions of the centre of empire. They visited the big attractions of the time – the Crystal Palace, Wyld’s Great Globe, and Kew Gardens.
They also met and entertained their many acquaintances and friends from Western Australia, Tasmania, Canada, and the Crimea. They attended concerts, shows, and exhibitions. They attended lectures, including two by Henry’s friend, William Howard Russell of the Times, about his experiences in the Crimea.
Henry took an interest in the preaching of Rev. Charles Haddon Spurgeon, a popular, but controversial Baptist preacher of the time.
Their son, John, wrote to them telling them that he was getting married. His fiancé was Matilda Elizabeth Ormiston, whose grandmother, Elizabeth Fulloon, had been the first superintendent of the famous (in Australia at least) Parramatta Female Factory.
Their daughter, Charlotte Augusta Dring, also married during this period, to Charles Henry Marshall. There was much engagement between the Drakes and Marshalls, and the family even travelled to Devon to meet Charles’s relatives.
Not long after the Marshalls left for Australia, Henry was informed that he was to be posted to Gibraltar. While he waited, he managed to fit in attendance at the wedding of Queen Victoria’s daughter, Victoria, and the family enjoyed the annular eclipse of the sun. Henry, Louisa, and their youngest daughter, Laura, even attended a lecture to prepare themselves for it.
The military eventually came through and the family left for Gibraltar on 27 April 1858.
Megan has done an excellent job of researching all the events, places and people that Henry refers to. She has assembled a lot of information including contemporary pictures, photographs, and commentary of the events the Drakes attended. Together they provide insight into Victorian life, but with the added interest of a family connection. There is also a lot of information for those interested in the Marshalls of Glengallan.
This is a big article, but worth the read. It can be found HERE
In our last post we indicated that we had been contacted by an antique dealer who had come into possession of a a collection of Drake family memorabilia including the Drake Family Bible. We bought the collection and it has now arrived.
We are slowly working through the material – collating, organising, photographing and scanning. There is quite a lot of stuff so this will take some time to complete. We have started with some of William Henry Drake’s awards and the family Bible.
The Bible is a lovely old leather bound book printed in 1747 in Oxford. A King James Bible in old English script and still in very good condition. The pages are still white and the leather is still smooth and flexible.
The fore and aft pages have been used to record births, deaths and marriages from 1743 through to the early 20th century mainly related to the families of the eldest sons of each generation. The fore pages are not in as good a condition as the rest of the book as they have become detached and worn where they have stuck out from under the cover. Nonetheless, they are legible and present some interesting genealogical information for those interested in the Drakes.
I have photographed and transcribed all of the fore and aft pages and have put them together here. Have a look and let us know what you think.
I have also photographed the “Warrant granting to Deputy Commissary General William Henry Drake the dignity rank and privileges belonging or appertaining to … Companions of the Most Honorable Order of the Bath.” Another interesting document. In flowing Victorian prose and prominently signed by Victoria herself (naturally), and also by Albert. Rather than create a new web page to display the document, I have added it to the existing page that discusses the award when Henry was in the Crimea. The award can be seen on the updated page here. If you click on the images, they will expand to full size.
We having been watching the traffic to Down Rabbit Holes with some interest. Visitors from all over the world following up on our blogs and also now finding us via online searches and the links on the Crimean War Research Society web site. Visitors as expected from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, United Kingdom, and United States, but also from France, Greece, China, India and Canada amongst others.
On Tuesday we had an interesting visitor. Instead of just reading our material, he also contacted us to tell us that he had a collection of Drake family documents from a deceased estate and was looking for a home for them. The collection includes:
The Drake family Bible dating from 1747 with records of births and some deaths
The warrant from Queen Victoria granting William Henry Drake the rank of Companion of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath
Many other things.
This was all too tempting so we have bought the collection and will know its full extent when it arrives in the near future. From what we have seen, there will be some interesting new information to add to the family story which we will publish in due course.
It is good to see the web site helping uncover these hidden collections because without it we would not have been visible on Google.
As we say on the Home page, family history is like exploring rabbit warrens.
My MA thesis was largely based on original letters written by William Henry Drake and his wife, Louisa, during the Crimean War. I also used a transcript of the Journal Drake kept during his time in the Crimea and after.
I have always felt that these letters should be made available to those who study the history of the Crimean War and to family historians interested in the Drake family. They provide a unique perspective on the conduct of the war from the viewpoint of a Commissariat officer, and also of the family interactions of that officer and the perspectives of his wife and daughter who joined him in the theatre of war.
I had toyed with the idea of trying to find a publisher, but wondered why any publisher would wish to publish such a large collection of letters, the subject matter of which has such a small audience, especially in this era of ebooks. That is why, having done all this work, I am thrilled to say that the Crimean War Research Society has agreed to publish them.
In transcribing the letters, I investigated all the places, events and especially people mentioned and have annotated the letters accordingly. I have also included ancillary documents, such as newspaper articles surrounding some of the events that occurred, as well as the evidence that Drake gave before the McNeill/Tulloch commission, and the Strathnairn committee of enquiry. These, I feel, provide context for the letters and will assist readers interpret and appreciate them.
On 21 February 1856, Henry was informed that he had been appointed a Companion of the Bath. He was justly proud of the award and in writing to his parents said, “I shall want a bit of ribbon, C.B. colour to put on my coat. So you see with my Red Ribbon, my Chevalier Cross and Medal & three Clasps, I shall make an imposing appearance!”
Louisa sewed “Henry’s Red Ribbon on his Coat” and wrote to Henry’s parents that she “thought it looked very well and I am not a little proud of it.”
The war was coming to an end and the Drake’s enjoyed entertainment, theatre and the Grand Races on the Tchernaya River which was a great festival reportedly attended by some 100,000 people.
Peace came with the signing of the Treaty of Paris on 30 March 1856, but news only reached the Crimea on 2nd of April. Nonetheless, the Drakes attended the Great Ball on board the Bruiser on 31 March with Henry reported in the Illustrated London News as proposing the toast to the Captain and his wife.
More celebrations followed including an “excellent dinner” on board the Ottawa. The only sour note was that that night the Drakes’ stable burnt down singing Louisa’s horse, Jack.
The Drakes then went home via Kertch, but not before Louisa had “mustered Courage … to call on Miss Nightingale” who she regarded as “one of the Lions of the present day.” They stopped off in Constantinople, where Henry had some duties to attend to, and visited the tourist attractions. They eventually left on 21 July and arrived in London in early August and took up residence at 21 Regents Park Terrace where neighbours were to play a part in introducing their younger daughter Charlotte Augusta Dring to her future husband, Charles Henry Marshall.
The detailed description of these events can be found HERE
The first letter Henry wrote to Louisa following his arrival in Balaklava contains the sketch in the banner showing the layout of the town and its harbour. The painting below it by William Simpson provides a better view of what Balaklava was like.
Henry’s letters and Journal at this time contain interesting descriptions of his domestic arrangements. He talks of his accommodation, his furnishings and his servants.
He mentions ongoing contact with William Howard Russell of the Times.
He also starts raising with Louisa the possibility of her coming out to the Crimea while leaving the younger girls in England to continue their education.
On 14 November 1854 he writes to Louisa to describe “One of the most miserable & wretched days.” This was the hurricane that destroyed and damaged many ships in and near Balaklava harbour and caused the loss of significant amounts of food, clothing and equipment just at the beginning of winter.
Henry worked and waited through the winter and in April 1855 heard that Louisa and their daughter Louisa Maria would leave Southampton at the end of the month. They arrived on 18 May, just in time to accompany Henry on the expedition to capture Kertch along with William Howard Russell and William Simpson.
The upper centre image in the banner is Simpson’s depiction of the burning of Kertch. The image below it, also by Simpson, shows the battleship HMS Agamemnon and the steamer Hope passing by Prince Woronzoff’s Palace near Yalta on the return voyage. The Drakes were onboard the Hope so would have enjoyed this view.
Not long after they returned, the British Commanding Officer, Lord Raglan, died. Henry was called on to provide lead for the coffin so that Raglan’s body could be returned to England. Louisa and Louisa Maria went to view the funeral procession which is depicted in the lithograph by William Simpson.
The cannon stands outside Ely Cathedral in Cambridgeshire and was one of those captured by the Allies and distributed by the Commission Mixte of which Henry was a member.
Here is the next instalment in my updates to the information on William Henry Drake and his family.
My last blog provided links to a short summary of his life and information on his early life including his posting to the Swan River Colony (Perth, Western Australia).
The Drakes were transferred from Perth to Hobart, Tasmania, where they stayed for two years. Henry was then posted to St John, New Brunswick, Canada, but had the opportunity to spend some time in England on the way which allowed his family to meet his parents.
He was also not in Canada for long and was transferred back to London, but did not spend any time there as the Crimean War began while he was in transit and he was rerouted.
He travelled to the Crimea via Greece (Piræus) and Bulgaria (Varna). He met a number of historic figures along the way and even banqueted at the Acropolis.
My thesis contains a lot of information about William Henry Drake and his family, but there was a lot of information that didn’t make it into my thesis because of the tight requirements for the word count of theses. Since completing my thesis, I have also found a lot more information about their lives. My aim is to make this information available here.
I am, therefore, writing a series of blogs on various aspects of the family and will be publishing them as they are completed. I have started with three articles.
The first is a short summary of Henry’s life which provides a framework for the other articles.
The second covers the movements of Henry’s family following his birth in Portugal until, as a young man, he went to the Swan River Colony (Perth, Western Australia).
The third looks at his time in WA including his marriage and the birth of his children.
A dinner party was held in the Glengallan homestead on 16 September 2017 to celebrate the homestead’s 150th anniversary. Megan was invited to speak on behalf of the Marshall descendants and present an overview of the family. This is a transcript of her speech.
Thank you for asking me to speak about my great-great-grandparents, Charles and Charlotte Marshall. It is good to be here, near where the “old house” stood, where my great-grandmother was born in 1859.
Charles and Charlotte were children of the expansion of the British Empire, with close ties to Totnes in Devon.
Charles was born in 1818 at Mauritius, where his father, William, was joint chief of police. William was born in Devon in 1780, and had gone to sea, aged 14, with the East India Company. When he married Louisa Bentall at Totnes in 1810, he joined the Army, and was posted to the Cape of Good Hope, and then Mauritius.
After a failed venture, William returned to England, alone, in 1822, but the family’s fortunes worsened the following March, when Louisa died at Mauritius, aged 39, probably during the cholera pandemic. The children re-joined their father in Scotland a year later.
Four years later, William died suddenly, and the Devon families rallied to care for the orphans. His probate poignantly recorded the children’s election of their uncle, John Bentall, as guardian of their inheritance, which secured their futures.
Charles was a mariner at Totnes by 1841, though details are scant. The only mention I have is of Charles working as third mate on board the Princess Charlotte in 1839.
He became bookkeeper for the Van Diemen’s Land (VDL) Company at Stanley in 1843, a position obtained through his father’s cousin, Edward Marshall of the War Office, a director of that Company. The Tenantry Return for that year uniquely described Charles as “a relation of … Edward Marshall” and as having “capital”.
The VDL Company archive in Hobart is vast. Documents show that in 1846 Charles was appointed Superintendent of Woolnorth at Cape Grim, running the sheep station. He resigned in 1849, with sufficient funds to try his luck in Queensland. By 1851 he was on Glengallan, becoming sole proprietor in July 1852.
Charlotte was born at Albany, Western Australia, in 1838. Her father, William Henry Drake, like his father, lived the peripatetic life of a Commissary. Henry was born in Portugal, where his father served during the Peninsular War. In 1831, Henry was sent to Perth, and there married Louisa Purkis.
He was transferred to Hobart in 1848, and two years later, to Canada, after which he was sent to London. On his arrival there in 1854, he was diverted to the Crimea for the duration of the war. He was stationed at Balaklava, where his wife and eldest daughter joined him. Charlotte and her sister, Laura, stayed with their grandparents in London, attending school.
When hostilities ceased in 1856, the Drakes were re-united in London. Henry’s second cousins, William and Mary Marshall, also from Totnes, were neighbours. Mary (born Benthall) was Charles Marshall’s first cousin, and William, a distant cousin of his.
So, fate ensured that Charles and Charlotte would meet when Charles visited England after going into partnership with John Deuchar. Henry’s Journal tells the story. In August 1856, Edward Marshall of the War Office called. Numerous visits with William and Mary Marshall followed, and, significantly, on the 6th of April 1857, the Drakes dined with them. Henry noted that “Mr. C. Marshall” was present. In May, Charles dined with the Drakes a few times, and had tea with them. In August, Henry, Louisa, Charlotte, and Charles went to an Art Exhibition, and visited the Tower of London.
On the 18th of August, Charlotte’s older sister, Louisa Maria, congratulated her on her engagement, saying, “You know I always said it would give me more pleasure to see you married than anything else … and … I do rejoice to think you will have a husband I like so much & everybody else thinks so highly of.”
Invitations for the Wedding Breakfast went out on the 11th of September, and on the 23rd, Charles and Charlotte were married at St Pancras Parish Chapel, in Camden, by Charles’s second cousin, the Rev. Stephen Hawtrey. Charlotte wore a hand-embroidered Honiton lace veil – the same one my mother wore when she married my father. Henry wrote that “A Party of 37 lunched with us … & at 3 p.m. the Bride & Bridegroom left for Rugby & a tour.”
Charlotte noted in her Journal that they “Left 21 Regents Park Terrace in style, having had an old white satin shoe thrown at us.” The couple explored the Lake District, Edinburgh, and York, and returned to London at the end of October. Henry wrote on the 12th of December that “Charles & Charlotte left Southampton … for Alexandria en route for Australia.” They arrived at Sydney on the 17th of February 1858.
And, so, on the 23rd of February 1859 my great-grandmother, Charlotte Louisa Marshall, was born, here, not long after her mother painted the beautiful watercolour featuring their wooden house, with Mount Marshall in the background. Thirty years later Charlotte told Slade that she was glad she “was not there to see the old house pulled down”.
The Marshalls had six children. Charles Henry, the youngest, was born in 1874, four months after his father’s sudden death. Officially, Charles senior died of “cardiac disease”, but I suspect he died from melanoma. Sir James Paget, London’s leading surgeon, performed what Charles called “a most severe operation” on a “malignant” tumour on his ear in mid-1873. Paget performed another operation in March 1874, when the tumour spread.
My mother told me that Charlotte discovered that Charles had had another family after he died. This family was not mentioned in his will, but we know there was a lost “side letter”, in which it seems he left a bequest. Charlotte wrote to Slade, cryptically saying that following her “dear husband’s death” she had had “very many other very heavy expenses to meet that no one knows of or suspects”.
I have searched high and low for this family, but only recently found the VDL Company Tenantry Report for August 1849, which showed Charles had an unnamed “wife” and “child”. It clearly wasn’t a formalised relationship. Charles did not abandon his secret family, as otherwise I would not have heard about them.
After Charles died, Charlotte had to take care of her investment. Her typically feminine Victorian education had not prepared her for this, but she worked hard to understand and to contribute intelligently.
She remarried in 1883, to the accomplished William Knighton. They signed a pre-marital deed, described by Charlotte to Slade as follows: “I have had a special clause put in … that the management of Glengallan should be carried on by you & by me as heretofore, no one else in England knows as much about it as I do, & I still feel quite capable of doing my part & you will find all just as before.” This prevented Knighton from interfering, though he did help when she was ill, or when family crises intervened. I know Slade didn’t find the Knightons easy to deal with, and vice versa, but relations were always respectful.
Knighton died in 1900, and in 1905 Marshall & Slade was dissolved, after the Government’s repurchase of Glengallan for closer settlement. Charlotte died of old age in 1922 at her home, Caberfeigh, in Redhill, Surrey. She was a remarkable woman: she was raised to be a traditional Victorian wife and mother, but became a successful Victorian capitalist.
The Marshalls’ substantial investment in Glengallan wouldn’t have been as lucrative as it was without the exceptional skill, hard work, and intelligence of both Deuchar and Slade. As the Brisbane Courier noted in November 1872, Charles Marshall had “taken into partnership … William B. Slade, one of the cleverest and most respected of the young gentlemen in the district”; and the Queenslander said in 1932 that “It was Mr. Deuchar who laid the foundation of the noted Shorthorn and merino studs on Glengallan.”
How different would all their lives have been if John Deuchar and Charles Marshall had been as long-lived as William Ball Slade.
In preparation for her speech, Megan prepared a summary of information regarding the Marshalls and their families. It proved to be too long for the dinner and had to be edited to yield this speech. The longer, more detailed summary can be found HERE.