Here’s another photo showing staff outside the shop in 1911.
Here’s another photo showing staff outside the shop in 1911.
James Benjamin Edwards, jeweller of Bendigo, was a well connected and well respected citizen. He was also my wife’s great-grandfather.
He was a stalwart of the Forest Street Methodist Church, including being a trustee, chairman of the Bendigo Chamber of Commerce, active in the Bendigo Horticultural Society, and an amateur photographer, including being president of the Bendigo Photographic Society.
An article in Trove entitled, “A PRESENTATION FROM BENDIGO.”, (1901, May 2). The Bendigo Independent (Vic. : 1891 – 1918), p. 2. relates:
A PRESENTATION FROM BENDIGO.
VIEWS OF UNDERGROUND MINING.
Mr. J. B. Edwards is an ingenious amateur photographer. For some time he has been experimenting to discover a satisfactory method of photographing underground workings of mines. Recently, by using magnesium, he was able to take some splendid stereoscopic transparencies. The mayor, per the town clerk, wrote to the Governor-General a few days ago suggesting that these views would be a suitable gift to the Duke and Duchess of York. Mr. Honeybone yesterday received the following reply:—“I am directed by His Excellency the Governor-General to request you to be so good as to inform his Worship the mayor of Bendigo that he is of opinion that the presentation of a number of views taken underground by Mr. J. B. Edwards would be a very pleasing gift. The presentation might be made by his worship immediately after the joint municipal address has been given. I may mention that none of the addresses will be read.—Yours, etc., E. W. Wellington, private secretary to His Excellency the Governor-General.” The transparencies include views of the underground workings of the New Chum Railway, Great Northern, Great Southern, New Moon, Garibaldi, and Goldfields mines, and should make an interesting souvenir of the Royal visit when the Duke and Duchess return to England.
This presentation album was sold at Bonhams auction house in May, 2006, for AU$ 1,635, described as follows:
Stereoscopic views: Goldfields: AustraliaSix glass views of The Goldfields of Victoria G. M. Bendigo (An English Co.) taken by J. B. Edwards and captioned showing men underground using mining machinery, the views, together with a Holmes type viewer in a fitted velvet lined polished wood presentation box with a plaque ‘Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York. Views of Underground Mining Bendigo at Victoria Australia By J.B. Edwards, Bendigo 7/5/01’.
Hendrik Van Cooten was a plantation and slave owner.
In Britain, in August 1833, the Slave Emancipation Act was passed, giving all slaves in the British empire their freedom, albeit after a set period of years. Plantation owners received compensation for the ‘loss of their slaves’ in the form of a government grant set at £20,000,000. The slaves themselves received no recognition of the injustices done them, no reparations, nor apology.
A recent segment on the Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC) Radio National (RN) Late Night Live programme looks at some of the ramifications of slave emancipation – https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/latenightlive/blood-money_-emma-christopher/11924196
An article taking a position on a current compensation movement appears in the Guardian – https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/mar/29/slavery-abolition-compensation-when-will-britain-face-up-to-its-crimes-against-humanity
University College London hosts a website detailing the compensation money paid to slave owners at https://www.ucl.ac.uk/lbs/.
Although Hendrik died in 1825, his estates and family received payments.
Hendrik appears in the database, indicating that he had been the owner of plantations Vryheids Lust and Sheet Anchor in Demerara. The plantations had the following slaves:
299 enslaved persons were registered in 1832 to the heirs of the late Hendrick van Cooten, by John L.C. Playter.
On 19th Apr 1836 compensation for 286 enslaved of £14638 18s 6d was issued.
Nicholas Van Cooten received £287 10s 2d (5 enslaved) and British Guiana £98 9s 11s (2 enslaved). This Nicholas is either Hendrik’s son or Hendrik’s grandson.
Looking closely at the the letters written by Theodore we can infer:
It is likely that Theodore is the Theodore Barrell listed at https://barrell.one-name.net/getperson.php?personID=I40&tree=T014
A description of archives at Columbia University “Barrell family papers, 1751-1929 bulk 1791-1889” http://www.columbia.edu/cu/lweb/archival/collections/ldpd_4078972/ says:
The Barrell Family were noted merchants and businessmen in London and in Colonial Demerara, now part of Guyana. Theodore Barrell, the son of Walter Newberry Barrell, a London-based businessman, was both in Boston in 1771. He spent most of his career working as a merchant in the Americas, including in Barbados where he met his wife Elizabeth Beckles Barrell (born November 18, 1783) and in Demerara. Theodore Barrell died in Saugerties, New York in 1846.
Theodore Barrell has a brief biography in Bram Hoonhout’s “Borderless Empire : Dutch Guiana in the Atlantic World, 1750-1800”.
The New-York Historical Society hold a “Letter book, 1798-1803” by Theodore Barrell – https://bobcat.library.nyu.edu/primo-explore/fulldisplay?vid=NYHS&docid=nyu_aleph001507649&context=L described as
Summary: Letter book, 1798-1803, with correspondence to business associates in London, Barbados, etc., as well as letters to relatives and friends on personal affairs, and life in Guiana. Includes many letters to William and Samuel Jones, London; Walter Barrell, London; William Gill and Samuel Went, Barbados.
Publication Date: 1798
Description: 1 v. (182 p.)
Looks like I need to make a trip to the Columbia University archives!
In 2015, Bram Hoonhout, then a PhD student working on the 18th century history of Essequibo and Demerara, alerted me to the existence of references to Hendrik, Jan and Nicolaas van Cooten in the letterbooks of Theodore Barrell, a merchant in Demerara.
He was able to supply images, and my transcription is now available here. The page image is made available with the permission of the New York Historical Society.
Bram has now published his history – “Borderless Empire : Dutch Guiana in the Atlantic World, 1750-1800”. The description at bookdepository.com reads:
Borderless Empire explores the volatile history of Dutch Guiana, in particular the forgotten colonies of Essequibo and Demerara, to provide new perspectives on European empire building in the Atlantic world. Bram Hoonhout argues that imperial expansion was a process of improvisation at the colonial level rather than a project that was centrally orchestrated from the metropolis. Furthermore, he emphasizes that colonial expansion was far more transnational than the oft-used divisions into “national Atlantics” suggest. In so doing, he transcends the framework of the “Dutch Atlantic” by looking at the connections across cultural and imperial boundaries.
The openness of Essequibo and Demerara affected all levels of the colonial society. Instead of counting on metropolitan soldiers, the colonists relied on Amerindian allies, who captured runaway slaves and put down revolts. Instead of waiting for Dutch slavers, the planters bought enslaved Africans from foreign smugglers. Instead of trying to populate the colonies with Dutchmen, the local authorities welcomed adventurers from many different origins. The result was a borderless world in which slavery was contingent on Amerindian support and colonial trade was rooted in illegality. These transactions created a colonial society that was far more Atlantic than Dutch.
Bram’s book has gone straight to my wishlist!
I’ll work through the information in the Theodore Barrell letters in future posts.
Great great grandfather William Thomas, in his handwritten autobiography of 1926, refers to his time on the railways in Wales in the early 1870s, and using the “Spagoletti speaking instrument.”
This turns out to be a form of the Single Needle Instrument developed by Charles Ernest Spagnoletti. I’ve found details of this at Sam Hallas’ page at http://www.samhallas.co.uk/railway/single_needle.htm. He gives an explanation and diagram of the code, which is a representation of morse code.
This confirms William’s recollection of the signalling code he learned as a youth.
The will says that Hendrik junior has “absented himself from Holland where he had been for his education so that no tidings from him have been received by me for several years.”
It turns out that Hendrik senior wasn’t the only person concerned about Hendrik junior’s whereabouts.
I’ve just found the following in Amsterdamse Courant of 10 May 1800, found in the MyHeritage Netherlands Newspapers, 1659-1899 collection.
Indien iemand met zekerheid weet naricht te geeven van het Verblyf, Leeven of Dood, van eenen HENDRIK VAN
COOTEN, van Demerary, in het Jaar 1794, als Matroos nebbende gediend onder Kapitein SIMON RYNTJES, doch in
Maart 1795, afgadankt, en federd zyn verblyf onbekend zynde, wordt verzocht zich en adresseeren by den Boekverkooper
J. TEN BRINK GZ., in de Warmoesstraat, over de St. Annastraat, zal daar voor eene belooning genieten.—Zullende ge-
melde HENDRIK VAN COOTEN, nog in leeven zynde, vriend lyk ontvaugen en gelegenne gegeven worden om na zyn
genoegen te kunnen worden geholpen, waneer zich dezelve in Persoon o per Missive, aan gein. Boekverkooper a levesfeerd.
If someone knows with certainty about the Residence, Life or Death, of a HENDRIK VAN
COOTEN, from Demerary, in the Year 1794, serving as a Sailor, serving under Captain SIMON RYNTJES, but in
March 1795, retired, and residence was unknown, are invited and addressed by the book seller
J. TEN BRINK GZ., In the Warmoesstraat, on the St. Annastraat, will be rewarded there for a reward.
pleasure to be helped when they are in person or per Missive. Book seller is supplied.
Hendrik senior was born in Doorn in 1750, and arrived in Demerara about 1773. Hendrik junior could well have been born not long after, which would feasibly have him at about 20 in 1794.
The J. ten Brink making the enquiry is quite probably Jan ten Brink, book store owner and publisher. Netherlands Wikipedia has an entry for him. I wonder why he was being enquired about? Did he owe money?
In searching the 19th Century English Newspapers for Maggie’s Gormans, we came across the following intriguing item in the Hampshire Telegraph and Sussex Chronicle for July 13 1861:
William Taylor a respectably
dressed young man, was charged with stealing a hat on
the previous Sunday, at the Independent
Chapel, High-street, the property of Mr. George Gorman,
ship’s steward. Mr. Gorman attended service at the
Independent Chapel, High-street, on Sunday evening,
the 30th of June, and placed his hat, of the value of 13s.,
on the window ledge near where he was sitting. The
prisoner, a stranger to the congregation, was present, and
at the conclusion of the service, took the hat and walked
off. About an hour afterwards he was apprehended by
P. C. Littlefield, in the street, with the hat on his head.
He said he took it by mistake, but which could not be the
case, as he had only a cap with him when he went into
the chapel. He pleaded guilty, and was sentenced to six
weeks’ imprisonment with hard labour.
Just a random vignette, but which conveys much information about George Gorman and either pointers to further sources of information, or sufficient to match this person with other events – his name, occupation, the date, and his place of worship.
The first I would like to mention is the transcription of Guyana colonial newspapers being transcribed by John Wilmer. These are a valuable source of information for an area for which it is extremely difficult to obtain any primary sources.
A great newspaper source for English research is the 19th Century British newspapers from the British Library. I have accessed these online by being eligible for a reader’s card at the National Library of Australia (NLA) and the State Library of Victoria (SLV). I’ll give some examples of specific interesting items in a subsequent item. The NLA also provides access to the 17th and 18th Century Burney Collection Newspapers, however I’ve yet to explore these fully.
Another great resource provided through the NLA and SLV is the Times Digital Archive. I’ve found a number of Van Cooten and Smithers items in this collection.
The National Library of Australia released in December 2008 the first stage of their project to digitise out of copyright newspapers. They are creating a free online service that will enable full-text searching of newspaper articles. This is a really fantastic project, and one of the current features is the ability of users to improve, annotate, and tag the scanned material.
I’ve found some interesting tidbits already. These include: