Descendants of George Wills


98. John Thomas (Brock) Wills

After the death of his father in 1846, John and his mother ran Whiteway Barton together. His father's will stipulated that the farm could not be sold until John turned 21, in 1851.
Family legend has it that he worked as a Butcher for a time at the great Smithfield Markets near London after the sale of Whiteway Barton, before he emigrated to Victoria.

According to his death certificate, John arrived in Victoria, Australia, during the gold rushes in about 1854, living there for 36 years. He was probably attracted by the gold rushes, because he travelled to Melbourne on the ship "Great Britain", which set sail from Liverpool and called in at Plymouth, Devon, on the way. On the passenger manifest his occupation was listed as 'Gentleman'. The "Great Britain" arrived in Port Phillip on 25 October 1853.

On his marriage certificate in 1861 he listed his occupation as Baker, and in the 1865 Rate Books is listed as owning a residence and bakery at Moonambel.

In 1865, he applied to occupy 20 acres of crown land at Barkly Road, Moonambel. John owned at least two properties at Moonambel, a block of river-flat land along Mountain Creek to the northeast of the town and another downstream, also with a water frontage along the creek, closer to the township. He owned the land allotments numbers 99, 100, 102, 107 and 26-29 (ten acres in 1866) at Warrenmang, lots 105 and lOSA at Moonambel, and 46 and 29 at Bolerch.

He was listed as "Wills, John, Farmer" in the 1868 official government list of residents of Moonambel and he was granted a government contract on 6 May 1870 to supply 'oats, bran, hay and straw' at Moonambel, and another Forage Contract at Moonambel and Redbank on 27 Febmary 1874.

John was elected a Shire Councillor in the mid to late 1870's and the 1880's, and was elected President of the Avoca Shire in 1882. He performed his civic duties, serving as juror at inquests at Redbank in 1863, and Timor in 1873 and again in 1874. John was signatory to a petition conceming a General Sessions Court at Avoca in 1862 and to a petition in 1871 to establish a school at Moonambel. He signed his name 'John' or Jno. Wills'.

There are extant records available for viewing at Avoca showing that John was Manager of the Homeward Bound Mining Company in 1871 and 1872 at Moonambel, and applied for a mining lease in 1871. He was also a Director of the Avoca Federal Gold Mining Co.

On 14 January 1871 John swore an affidavit that "the school-house which was destroyed by fire very early Wednesday morning ... was owned by me". This "had originally been a place of business" and had been "let to Mrs. Wren (Loren] for a private school". There appears to have been a previous incident of "wilful incendiarism as reported on 19 Febmary 1870 in the Avoca Mail newspaper which states that "no less than two hundred bushels of seed wheat were destroyed, a stack of straw and one of hay, as well as a long line of fencing". John is described in the article as "a good citizen who has long resided in the district".

J. T. B.Wills was also named on the founding and first committee of the Church of England, which in 1878 erected, St. Paul's, the new permanent church in Moonambel.

His headstone records that he had been in Australia for 36 years.

Annie Maria Batley

Prior to marrying J.T.B. WILLS, Annie had previously been married to a James EDWARDS. They had married in 1855 in St. George's Parish, Edinburgh, Scotland. They had two children, Annie and James, and one other deceased. At her marriage to J.T.B., Annie was a widow and housekeeper, aged 25. Family legend has them meeting in Melbourne at the ceremonial send-off of the famous BURKE and WILLS expedition.

Annie lived her last years at Carranballac, Victoria, with her youngest son, George.

136. Mary Vooght Wills

She was sent back to England, probably in 1871, to be adopted and brought up by her grandmother's younger sister, Amy VOOGHT. At about seven years of age she had
been taken back to England by Lewis WHITEWAY, a wealthy ship's Captain. Amy's
husband, John RICHARDS, later married Mary WILLS who was the sister of J.T.B. and
therefore was this Mary's aunt.

Perhaps her parents considered the conditions of western Victoria to be too harsh for the young girl, sending her back to England to live with her wealthy relatives.

The young Mary Vooght retained her WILLS surname throughout her life, and did not marry. She was educated, attended a number of 'finishing schools' in Europe and England, travelled extensively in Europe, and visited her brothers in Victoria, Australia, in about 1925.

She inherited wealth out of both the VOOGHT and NOSWORTHY families and became a very wealthy woman, having a life of privilege and ease. She devoted herself to charity work.

John Davis

John Davis was a farmer of Macclesfield, SA.

114. Charles Wills

Notes by Max Parsons, 1989

We go back to 1853, Dr William Wills has followed his two sons to Australia and Charles and Thomas are probably thinking of very little else. We can imagine their enthusiasm not being returned by their mother and father or Sarah Davis, Thomas' bride-to-be.

Apparently it was agreed that Charles should travel to Tasmania under the sponsorship of a Mr George Meredith, a well known settler of Swansea in Tasmania whose wife was a noted artist and authoress of the time. After settling in successfully Charles could apply to sponsor his younger brother Thomas.

George Meredith seconded three other young men as well and the four sailed from London, accompanied by 184 other souls, on Ticket No.541 (Cost twenty two pounds) on board the barque "Wanderer" under Captain John Woodcock on October 31, 1854. 15 weeks later they arrived at Hobart Town on February 13, 1855.

Charles Wills became a firm friend of his travelling companion who held ticket No.542 on the "Wanderer" for, as we shall see later, Charles was married at Cambria in the home of John Golding.

Probably the four men worked for their sponsor, George Meredith, until they found other employment. Charles obtained a position as gardener and coachman for Joseph Archer and worked at "Panshanger", the mansion built by Archer in 1835, for most of his married life. Several of his children were born, and the family raised, in the attractive gardener's cottage which is still lovingly maintained on the estate (1989). As head gardener, Charles died there in 1874.

When Charles arrived at "Panshanger" (pronounced 'Pansanger') in Longford in the district of Norfolk Plains, the area already had a short history. When the settlement of Norfolk Island was broken up, about 40 of the settlers were given land on the banks of the Esk River, hence the name Norfolk Plains, founded in 1806.

In 1813, the Archer family came from England, were granted large areas of land and introduced Merino sheep. Then the district began to prosper. Joseph Archer's holding extended over 5,500 acres. He was a man of taste and education, one of four brothers who figure so largely in the history of Tasmanian settlement.

In the building of the mansion, Joseph followed an artistic conception as well as a layout with practical farming sense. Bricks for the outbuildings were made on the property and a nearby quarry yielded stone for the house.

Like other homesteads of the period "Panshanger" needed some sort of defence against prowling blacks, bushrangers and escaped convicts, so the house and outbuildings were erected around a large courtyard which could be closed at night.

"Panshanger" is approached by a wide avenue of pines at least a mile long which ends in a broad carriage drive in front of a dignified pillared portico. From the wide stone terrace a lawn sweeps down to the Lake River now hidden by mighty trees.

Water is still pumped from the river by a plant installed in 1860 when our Charles Wills worked on the property.

Thomas Mills purchased the estate from the Archers in 1907.

We turn the clock back to New Year's Day 1856 there was much to celebrate on that day our ancestor, Charles Wills married Elizabeth Ollis Dyer.
The certificate of marriage shows, Charles married Elizabeth Ollis Dyer (her second name is incorrectly spelt on the certificate, it is Ollis not Ellis), a widow aged 30, on 1 January 1856. Charles' age is shown as 26 but he was actually only 25. Perhaps he felt an extra year older after the New Year's Eve celebrations? They were married in the home of John Golding of Cambria by Joseph Mayson, Chaplain of Swansea, Swanport in the presence of Golding and Elizabeth Jane Simmons. Elizabeth Dyer (Charles' wife) was born 29 February 1824, the daughter of John Dyer of Bath, England. (I shouldn't draw attention to the fact that Elizabeth had reduced her age by a year.)

Soon after settling into married life Charles applied to have his brother Thomas come out to Tasmania as a migrant. On November 14, 1856, Thomas and his young wife Sarah set sail from Liverpool, destination Hobart Town. Elizabeth was nearly six months pregnant when she greeted Thomas and Sarah after their arrival on January 27, 1857.

On May 5, 1857 a son, George Herbert, was born to Charles & Elizabeth. Next came Francis Charles Wills born June 24, 1859 and this biography is being researched and written by one of his grandchildren. They had two more children, both girls, Clara Elizabeth born at Woodhall near Perth, Tasmania, August 6, 1861 and Fanny Sarah born at "Panshanger" September 18, 1863. On the birth certificates of each child their father's occupation was shown as "gardener.

Charles' youngest child Fanny was 11 years old and the others in their teens, when, weakened by rheumatic fever, Charles died, aged 45, on September 4, 1874. At the time of his death, he was working as a gardener and residing in the gardener's cottage at "Panshanger", he was buried next day in the burial ground of Christ Church, Longford. (Reg. No. 988).

The newspaper of the day contained this notice : -
Death Notice: 4 Sept.1874 at "Panshanger" after a short but severe illness,
Charles Wills, gardener upon the estate of the Hon Joseph Archer, aged 45.
Leaving a sorrowing widow, two sons and two daughters, with many sincere
friends to lament their bereavement. Victorian and English papers please copy."

So Charles Wills died before any grandchildren were born. His widow was living with their son Frank (Francis Charles) at Upper Piper, Tasmania, when she died of heart disease and dropsy on June 8, 1883, aged 59.

116. Thomas Wills

Notes by Max Parsons written in 1989.

Thomas Wills, brother of Charles, was born November 27, 1833 in Bovey Tracey, the youngest son of Thomas and Susan (Perryman) Wills.

Between 1851 and 1856, probably later rather than sooner, Thomas married Sarah Davis, (the daughter of Benjamin and Elizabeth Davis) born September 27, 1529 at Halberton, County of Devon.

Charles, after establishing himself in Tasmania, applied to sponsor Thomas and his bride as migrants to the new colony. On November 14, 1856, the migrant ship "Great Tasmania" sailed for warmer climes under the command of Edmond Brewer. On board were Thomas and Sarah; it was two weeks before Thomas' 23rd birthday when the ship left Liverpool.

The "Descriptive List of Immigrants" discloses that Thomas and Sarah were married, both aged 22 (actually Sarah was older) both could read and write and of Church of England religion. They paid £16 each for the voyage and travelled under ticket No.310 on the application of Charles Wills. Thomas' trade or calling was "groom and house servant", Sarah was a "good (?) servant". (The writing is a little difficult to read.)

The ship's surgeon, John Henry Patrick Oldminder, described the young marrieds as follows - Thomas Wills, "Well looking, fair complexion, oval face, brown hair." Sarah (Davis) Wills, "Oval face, very light hair, red lips, well looking, lost upper tooth on right side of mouth."

The "Great Tasmania" arrived at Hobart Town on January 27, 1857, the ship may have been one of the new steamers operating at that time for 74 days was a speedy trip. On arrival, Thomas went to work as a gardener for the Sub-Inspector of Police at Buckland, John Wall. After working with Sub-Inspector Wall for a short time, Thomas applied to join the Tasmanian Territorial Police Force. He was accepted and, on April 22, 1856, was appointed a police constable at Spring Bay on the east coast of Tasmania.

Responding to a request for information, Tasmanian Police in Hobart kindly provided a copy of the relevant page of the original Spring Bay police station record of enlistment book, they also advised that Thomas was 24 at the time of appointment.

Three months after Thomas became a constable Sarah presented him with his first son - Joseph Henry born Glamorgan 16 July 1858. He was followed by six more children all of whom were born at Spring Bay - Constance Ann 1860, Thomas Charles 24 February 1862, Susa n Jane 16 December 1863, George William 9 December 1865, James Arthur 17 November 1867 and Susan Lydia 7 October 1869.

Sadly, an eighth pregnancy resulted in a miscarriage and Sarah Wills died on January 12, 1872, she was aged 42.

The death of his wife, Sarah, created problems for Thomas in caring for his family of young children aged between 2 and 13. Constance was in her eleventh year and probably contributed more than her share to the housekeeping duties until she died of consumption (TB) at Buckland on January 30, 1881, she was then 21 and unmarried.

By 1852, Thomas was Sergeant of Police at Spring Bay and on October 9 of that year, he took unto himself a second wife - Annie Elizabeth Howard. Annie was a spinster daughter of a local farmer. They were married at the residence of Mr Howard of Alma according to Church of England rites and in the presence of James William Howard, Mary Ann Finch and Alice Howard.

Just before his 55th birthday, Annie presented Thomas with a baby daughter, Myrtle May, born at Spring Bay on August 13, 1888. Thomas was then Sub-Inspector of Police at Spring Bay. Before Thomas retired from the force,four of his children were happily married and, before his death on March 25, 1905, he was grandfather to 14 youngsters.

162. Constance Ann Wills

Born 1860 and died at Buckland on January 30, 1881 of consumption (TB), she was unmarried.

164. Susan Jane Wills

Nothing is known of her life but she probably died before 1869 when Thomas and Sarah named
their seventh child Susan.

165. George William Wills

He was 21 when he attended his brother, Thomas Charles' wedding.

His death notice in the Hobart Mercury on the Tuesday 29 July 1941 reads:-
On July 28, 1941, at Hobart, George William Wills, beloved third son of the late Thomas and Sarah Wills, of Swansea, and beloved brother of Henry, of Melbourne, deceased, James, of Devonport, Susan, of Melbourne, and Myrtle, of Hobart, aged 76 years.

76 years of life but we can tell you nothing of it.

167. Susan Lydia Wills

Notes by Max Parsons written in 1989.

At age 21, she married Edward Henry Cooper 26 ("engine-man" by trade) at Holy Trinity Church in Hobart on April 15, 1891. Present as witnesses were Thomas Wills and John Phillips

It is not known what happened to Edward Cooper but Susan was probably a widow in 1919 when she went to Victoria to help rear the children of her brother, Joseph Henry Wills and his deceased wife Hannah.

Susan Lydia Cooper was still with her two nephews when she died on September 1, 1947 at Essendon.

168. Myrtle May Wills

Notes by Max Parsons written in 1989.

She was the only child of Thomas Wills' second marriage to Annie Elizabeth Howard.

In July 1941, she was living in Hobart but we have no other information about her life.

117. Sarah Wills

On the 7 September 1859 Sarah Williams (nee Wills, sister of Charles and Thomas above), aged 29, arrived in Hobart on the "City of Hobart" after arriving in Melbourne aboard "The Morning Light" which had sailed from England on the 8 June 1859. With her was her husband William Williams their son Thomas James Williams, aged 14 months and daughter Maude (or Merle) who was born on the 11 July 1859 while the ship was at sea.

The date of the marriage has to be confirmed but GRO suggest first quarter of 1857 in Exeter St Thomas.

118. Thomas Wills

An 1881 census return shows:-

Dwelling: 1a Manor Terrace
Place: Willesden, Middlessex England

Thomas WILLS, master butcher, eml 3 men, age 58, Born Ideford Devon
Caroline Wills: wife, age 60, born Fincham Norfolk
Mary J Wills: Dau, age 21, Born Paddington
Kate Wills Neice, age 16, Born Paddington

132. Thomas James Wills

Went to Australia in 1852 with William John Wills, his brother.