Australian Wills Families
William Hulme Wills and the Wills Family Bible

In September 2008 Dale McDonell wrote this page in reply to a posting on the
The Australian Wills Families Index Message Board.

I'm not sure if you are going to like the following info on Willie H. Wills, but it has taken years and years to track it all down and I'm happy to share the skeletons in our joint cupboards.

I too am a descendant of William Hulme Wills. I have quite a bit of information on him and quite extensive details of his family thanks to a family bible found in England and kindly transcribed and photo copied and the information sent to me. I also have copies of his father's and grandfather's last will and testament.

William Hulme Wills came from a family of Solicitors and his grandfather was Procurator General of the Inns of Court. His father John was Proctor at the Inns of Court. It was long a tradition that the eldest son studied law and was named John. The family crest dates back to Queen Elizabeth I's Thames River Bailiff (or something similar, I can't find the details at present). Anyway, he was one of Lizzie's sycophants. Just when they became lawyers I have yet to discover. This crest is included as part of the more elaborate Wills-Sandford Crest and needs further research to discover the connection with the Sandfords.

Our Willie Hulme Wills was third son and the fourth child of about eleven children born to Mary and John Wills of Dunwich, Surrey. He was named for his godfather William Browne Hulme Esq., a Captain in the Royal Scots, to whom his sister Jane was later married. The Hulmes owned pottery works in Staffordshire.

Our Willie was the black sheep of the family and so far I have found three wives. The second and third acquired whilst the previous ones were still living! He most definitely was not a widower when he married Mary Hubbard and was still married when he ran off to Adelaide with my Great great grandmother whom I suspect was the widow of his brother Joseph. He had abandoned his first wife Eliza Moore, in Tasmania where they fled after the furniture store that his father-in-law had bestowed upon him, went bankrupt just a two months after his marriage. That marriage produced one daughter.

His marriage (cohabitation?) with my gggrandmother Elizabeth Stephens/Stevens has four living children listed on Elizabeth's death certificate: two boys and two girls. One male child died in Melbourne aged four. I suspect the elder boys may have been the children of Joseph Wills as I have found births that match for a William and a Joseph Wills in Sydney -parents Joseph Wills and Elizabeth. There is also a death in NSW records for a Joseph Wills snr., (wife Elizabeth) shortly after Joseph jnr., was born. I have never been able to track down the siblings of my gggrandmother.

We next hear of William and Elizabeth in Adelaide where my gggrandmother Ellen was born.

In his meanderings William gives his occupation as ginger beer manufacturer, gentleman, miner, and lastly shepherd. I have found a couple of coastal shipping entries for him as a passenger but have not found a death registration for him. I suspect he may have returned to England deserting his wives and female offspring or taken off to another goldrush somewhere in the world.

It is possible that the older boys of Elizabeth Stevens might have also trotted off with their father/uncle(??) which would account for their elusiveness.