Tag Archives: DRAKE William Henry /

Drake Collection

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
  • Photographs
  • Family letters
  • 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.

The Drake Crimean Letters

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.

The letters can be found here.

My thanks to web master Tom Muir for uploading the letters to the Crimean War Research Society web site.

©Megan Stevens 2018

More enjoyable times

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

©Megan Stevens 2018

Balaklava, Kertch and the spoils of war

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.

The new sections I have added are:

Balaklava and the Crimean Peninsular

Kertch

Death of Raglan and the spoils of war


©Megan Stevens 2018

More on William Henry Drake

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.

The updates can be found here:

Hobart

London and New Brunswick

Crimea

I have also added some navigation links so that you can move backwards and forwards through the various articles.


©Megan Stevens 2018

Updating William Henry Drake’s information

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.

Other blogs will follow in due course.


©Megan Stevens 2018

Who were the Marshalls of Glengallan?

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.


Left BalconyThank 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.

Guests ArrivingFour 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.

Balcony in SwingThe 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.

Thank you.


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.

©Megan Stevens 2018