Frances Johnstone Sherborne née Dana (1768 – 1832), elder sister of William Pulteney Dana, was the aunt and godmother of my 3rd great grandmother Charlotte Frances Dana.

She was born in London on 3 September 1768, third of thirteen children of the Reverend Edmund Dana and his wife Helen. Her eldest sister, given the same name, died in infancy the previous year. Her sister Elizabeth Caroline Dana, born in 1767, was the oldest surviving child of the ten siblings to survive infancy.

On 7 July 1793 Frances Johnstone Dana married Joseph Sherburn in Boston Massachusetts. Frances Dana’s father had been born in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Frances, presumably, was visiting her relatives there.

Joseph Sherburne was born 1751 in Falmouth, Cornwall, England to Joseph Sherburn (c 1721 – 1763), captain of the packet “Hanover”. In 1767 Joseph Sherburn Jr aged 16 began a career in India with the East India Company rising to the rank of Senior Merchant. The 1788 India Calendar lists Joseph Sherburne as Collector of Beerbhoom & Bishenpore [Collector of taxes and Magistrate in West Bengal in present day Birbhum and Bishnapur]. In November 1788, however, after only eighteen months in office, he was recalled on suspicion of corruption.  This appears to have been unfounded, and Joseph Sherburne was again employed by the East India Company. In 1802 he was appointed Collector of Boglepore (present day Bhagalpur in Bihar north-east India).

Joseph and Frances Sherburne had two children, both baptised in Bhagalpur: a son Pulteney Johnstone Poole Sherburne baptised on 16 December 1802, and a daughter Frances Henrietta Laura Sherburne baptised on 3 October 1803.

Joseph died on 15 July 1805. His death notice in the English Public Ledger and Daily Advertiser of 10 February 1806 stated he was late Judge Magistrate of Purneah and Senior Merchant on the Bengal Establishment now known as Purnia it was a district of the Baghalpur Division of Bengal) .Joseph died intestate and administration was given to his widow.

After the death of her husband, Frances returned to England with her children.

In 1813 Frances’s son Pulteney Johnstone Poole Sherburne joined the army, as an ensign with South Hants Regiment Of Militia from 1813. On 27 July 1815, barely a month after the Battle of Waterloo, Volunteer Pulteney Johnstone Poole Sherburne was commissioned as an Ensign (without purchase) in the First Regiment of Foot. [I will write about his career separately.] He died on 28 June 1831 as a Lieutenant in Berbice in present-day Guyana in the West Indies.

Miniature portrait of Pulteney Johnstone Poole Sherburne

Frances’s daughter Frances Henrietta Laura Sherburne, seventeen years old, died on 8 November 1819 at Leyton, Essex (now a suburb of London, about five miles northeast of the City), and was buried there in the churchyard of St Mary the Virgin. The churchyard, now in poor repair, once had an altar-tomb surmounted by an oval urn erected to the memory of Frances Sherburne, signed by Thomas Mocock of Leyton (presumably the mason). I do not know if it has survived.

In 1832 Frances Johnstone Sherburne died in Chelsea, London. She was also buried at Leyton.

Frances Johnstone Sherburne’s will dated 19 October 1831 has a detailed
list of bequests. To her god-daughter Charlotte Frances Dana she left

  • her large Bible
  • gold watch chain loop and seals complete
  • a real sable tippet
  • a pair of gold Hindustani earrings
  • amethyst broach set round with whole pearls
  • a pair of ??? clasps ??? in ??? set round with pearls
  • a white carnelian ??? Broach and a bracelets single row
  • two rings one with hair and small pearls the other with a Emerald and Ruby Gold Buckle with garnets for Both Garnet chain bracelets and earrings with Drops
  • Also the face of my sainted child Frances Henrietta Laura Sherbourne on no account to be parted with the miniature picture of my son Pulteney Johnstone Poole Sherbourne
  • Sandal wood work box fitted up with silver containing gold thimble in gold ??? ??? and ??? silver ??? basket and yard and Tortoiseshell window ??? hair chain
  • and two pair of bracelets to ??? Black cut bracelets and ??? to
    match with Black snaps cut coral earrings
  • Red morocco trinket box
  • A pair of plain B??? Earrings without drops
  • Tortoiseshell ??otting box
  • More’s Practical Piety 2 vols of Elegant Extracts in Prose and Verse More’s Sacred Dramas [Hannah More was an English writer, philanthropist and leading member of the Blue Stockings Society; Jane Austen mentioned Elegant Extracts in her novel Emma]
snippet from the will of Frances Johnstone Sherbourne with the bequest to her niece Charlotte Frances Dana – any transcription suggestions gratefully received

Other people mentioned in the will were her nieces Penelope Dana [Anna Penelope], Helen Kinnaird Dana, daughter of William Pulteney Dana; her niece Harriete Gibbons, daughter of her sister Helen Gordon Gibbons née Dana; her sister Gibbons; her sister Charlotte Dana [probably her sister in law, wife of William Pulteney Dana]; her sister Armstrong; her niece Frances Harriette Wood [daughter of her brother Charles Patrick Dana]; her nephew Charles Edmund Dana [son of Charles Patrick Dana]; her nephew Henry Edmund Dana [son of William Pulteney Dana]; her cousin the Honourable Lady Hope [Georgiana daughter of George Lord Kinnaird, her mother’s brother]; her daughter Eliza Hope; some friends and servants.

The family Bible came to my father from his grandfather Constantine Trent Champion de Crespigny. An inscription in the front describes how it was given to him in 1892 by his grandmother Charlotte Frances Champion Crespigny nee Dana (1820- 1904). An inscription above this reads:

The Gift of Mrs Frances Johnstone Sherborne to her niece and God-daughter Charlotte Frances Dana by her will –

My father also has the miniature of Frances’s son Pulteney Sherburne.

Frances Sherborne also gave her niece and god-daughter a small sandalwood box with a silver plaque engraved with a shield and a motto. The box is a family heirloom which was owned by my great aunt Nancy Movius née Champion de Crespigny and has since been passed to Nancy Movius’ grand-daughter. The heraldry on that box is described at my father’s post at A search for the arms of the Dana family.

The box left in her 1831 will by Frances Johnstone Sherbourne to her niece and god-daughter Charlotte Frances Dana and now in the possession of Charlotte’s 3rd great grand daughter; the 5th great niece of Frances.


  • Sherborn, Charles Davies (1901). A history of the family of Sherborn. Mitchell and Hughes, London. Page 184 retrieved through
  • East India Company List – A List of the Company’s Civil Servants, at their Settlements in the East-Indies; Reference Number: b22610911 retrieved through
  • Hunter, W. Wilson. (1868). The annals of rural Bengal. London: Smith, Elder. Pp 16-18. Retrieved through Hathitrust
  • The Asiatic annual register, or, A View of the history of Hindustan, and of the politics, commerce and literature of Asia. volume 4 (1802). p. 96. Retrieved through Hathitrust.
  • Imperial Gazetteer of India (1908), v. 20, p. 412. Retrieved through FIBIS
  • ‘Leyton: Churches’, in A History of the County of Essex: Volume 6, ed. W R Powell (London, 1973), pp. 214-223. British History Online . “An altar-tomb in the churchyard, surmounted by an oval urn, to Frances Sherburne (1819) is signed by Thomas Mocock of Leyton.”
  • The National Archives; Kew, England; Prerogative Court of Canterbury and Related Probate Jurisdictions: Will Registers; Class: PROB 11; Piece: 1801 retrieved through
  • Asiatic Journal. Parbury, Allen, and Company. 1832. P.124. Death notice.
  • Ford, Susan Allen (2007). “Reading Elegant Extracts in Emma: Very Entertaining!” Persuasions on-Line, Jane Austen Society of North America,

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