James and Eleanor Featherstone:

from Wiveliscombe, Somerset to Hadspen, Tasmania

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[For research update, October 2000, re Featherstone Somerset background in the 1600s see Featherstone alias Blackmore. There is more to add, but not a great deal from visits to Taunton and Wiveliscombe in 2004]

James and Eleanor Featherstone arrived in Tasmania (Van Diemens Land) in March 1842. Their children born in Tasmania were Robert 1844, Mary Ann 1846, James 1848, Ellen 1851, and Jane 1854. There is no record of children being with them when they arrived, but as they were married in 1836 (at Wiveliscombe, Somerset) it is possible that one or more children were born to them somewhere in England but did not survive. [Note, 2007: However, the 1841 census since indexed, shows one child living with James and Eleanor Featherstone at Bridgewater, Som. There is no evidence so far of this child being with them in Tasmania.] They lived for many years at Hadspen, Tas., and kept the Cricketers Hotel.

A painting of a ships apparently about 1840, and which their daughter said they bought from England, used to hang in the Cricketers Hotel at Hadspen run by James and Eleanor Featherstone. It is now in the possession of their great great granddaughter Dawn Burton. However, we do not know of any connection with the shipping and shipbuilding family of Featherstones in Hobart.

More will be added to this introduction later, but a little now to make connections for the Tasmanian descendants with material recently discovered.

Robert Featherstone, the eldest child born in Tasmania, married Susan Coates (who later married John Hosking after the death of Robert). There are descendants in the Devonport region with whom we have had some contact, and other in Hobart were visited by family from the North years ago. The children of Robert and Susan were: Robert (who did not marry and lived at Devonport where he owned a considerable amount of property), Rose who married the Rev Ern Walker, Maude and Gertie (neither of whom married and lived at Devonport) and Angelina (Lena) Jane who married Leonard Stevens and had children Len and Robert (both bee farmers at Mole Creek), James, Keith, Wesley (fruit farmer in NSW) and Aubrey (also a bee farmer), and there are descendants who lived in Hobart.

Mary Ann Featherstone married Augustus Thompson. She died in childbirth and her husband died a few years later of cancer, so their surviving children were brought up by relatives. There were three Thompson children: William Burns Thompson b. 1867 who was looked after by his aunt Jane and Michael Hennesy married Mary Elizabeth Peck and was the father of Eric Thompson and other descendants including Len and Terry Thompson known to us in the Ringarooma district; Ellen Maude Thompson b. 1874 (known as Maude) was brought up by her aunt Ellen and Edward Murfet and married Henry Jessup at Scottsdale and was the mother of my mother Kathleen, her sister Doss and brothers Eric and Ray; and May Thompson was brought up by her uncle James and Fanny Featherstone and married Lou Bartram and lived in WA, and she had children Cyril, Lou (?) and Ella.

James Featherstone, son of James and Eleanor, married Sarah George in 1874 and after she died he married her sister Frances in 1883. Three children one the first marriage survived: Sydney who was a builder in Launceston married Elsie Biggs, Eleanor (known as Ella) who married a Salvation Army Officer and lived in NSW and Qld, and Edith (known as Edie) who married and had children named Sydney and Ian. Frances was still living at Galvin Street and later Wellington Street Launceston in her nineties in the 1940s.

Ellen Featherstone married Edward Murfet. Their children were Frank, Edith, Muriel (who married Walter Clear and was the mother of Olive who married Athol Harris, and whose daughter Dawn was a great friend of my sister Elaine and now lives in England with her husband Jim Burton), Samuel (who married Edith Priest), Eadie and Ruby (who married Gordon Shields).


Photos: Ellen (Featherstone) Murfet; and the Murfet Family: Maude Thompson, Muriel, Sam, Edith and Eadie at back, with Edward, Ruby and Ellen in front.

Jane Featherstone married Michael Hennessy at Deloraine, but her family was not remembered by our informants and is yet to be discovered. [We have since discovered more and notes will be added. See also http://groups.msn.com/myfamilyheritage/hennessysecondgeneration.msnw from Carol Cusick (Hennessy). DB Feb 04.]

DB November 1998, revised March and May 1999, February 2004

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