William Pulteney Dana, one of my 4th great grandfathers, died at the age of 84 on 29 June 1861, 160 years ago today.
William Dana was the 7th of 13 children of the Reverend Edmund Dana and his wife Helen Dana nee Kinnaird. He was born in Wroxeter, in Shropshire, on 13 July 1776.
Dana married twice, first, in the United States, to Anne Frisby Fitzhugh about 1800. They had two children: a son, who died in infancy, and a daughter, called Anne . When Dana’s wife died in 1804, he returned to England, leaving his infant daughter to be brought up by her maternal relatives.
In England Dana joined the army, serving in the 6th Royal Garrison Battalion in Ireland. There he married again, to Charlotte Elizabeth Bailey in 1812. They had 12 children. In 1815 they settled in Shropshire.
To supplement his Army half-pay William went into business as a printer but was declared bankrupt. He was briefly imprisoned in the jail named after his father.
In later years William Dana lived with his daughter Anna Penelope and her husband W.H. Wood in Shrewsbury.
Captain William Pulteney Dana, who died on the 29th of June last, at the residence of his son-in-law, W.H. Wood, Esq., Holywell-terrace, Shrewsbury, was descended from a family of some eminence which emigrated to America in 1640, and which was among the earlier settlers at Cambridge, in Massachusetts, where many of its members have, from that time to this, held high position in the legal, political, and literary world. His grandfather, the Hon. Richard Dana, and his eldest uncle, the Hon. Francis Dana, were Chief Justices of the State of Massachusetts in the reigns of the second and third Georges. The American branch of the Dana family still resides at Boston and Cambridge, in Massachusetts, and occupies a very distinguished position. Its present representative is Richard Henry Dana, Esq., a poet of note ; and his son, Richard Henry Dana, a leading barrister at Boston, is the author of “Two Years before the Mast.” William Pulteney Dana, the subject of this notice, was the second surviving son of the Rev. Edmund Dana, Vicar of Wroxeter, Shropshire, by his wife, Helen, eldest daughter of Charles, sixth Lord Kinnaird. He was born on the 13th July, 1776, and married, first, Anne, only daughter of Colonel Fitzhugh, by whom he had one daughter ; he married, secondly, Charlotte Elizabeth, third daughter of the Rev. Henry Bayly, Rector of Nenagh, in the County of Tipperary, Ireland (second son of John Bayly, Esq., of Debsborough Hall, in the same county, and a younger branch of the house of Anglesey), by which lady, who died on the 13of May, 1846, he leaves a numerous issue.
My fourth great grand uncle George Kinnaird Dana in 1811 served as colonel of the 6th Garrison Battalion quartered in Nenagh, Tipperary. The Battalion paymaster was his brother William Pulteney Dana, one of my fourth great grandfathers.
Garrison Battalions were reserve troops, primarily concerned to maintain defence and good order in potentially troublesome territory. They were recruited from elderly veterans or other troops considered unfit for front-line combat. The 6th Battalion had been raised at Dublin from limited-service personnel of three regiments of foot. It was stationed at Nenagh in Tipperary, a hundred miles to the southwest.
In June 1811 the 6th Garrison Battalion had a field day. Blank ammunition had been issued but unfortunately a ball cartridge had been mixed with it. One man was shot in the back.
At Nenagh William Pulteney Dana met Charlotte Elizabeth Bailey, a daughter of the Reverend Henry Bayley, Rector of Nenagh. Around 1812 they were married. Their two oldest children were born in Ireland.
In April 1814 Napoleon had surrendered to the allies and since the war was over Garrison battalions was no longer needed. On 5 December 1814 the Garrison battalion was disbanded.
Captain William Pulteney Dana now on half-pay returned to live in Shropshire. William and Charlotte had ten more children all born in Shropshire.
In June 1814 William’s brother George Kinnaird Dana was promoted to Major-General and returned to England.
This biography of Charlotte Frances Champion Crespigny nee Dana (1820 – 1904), also includes her forebears, siblings and descendants.
Charlotte Frances Dana, of middling gentry background, was married to a county solicitor when she met her second husband Philip Robert Champion Crespigny. After a scandalous divorce and a brief exile in France, they came to Australia in 1852 where Philip Robert became a Warden and Magistrate in the goldfields.
Viewed through the life of Charlotte Frances, this is an account of a migrant Victorian family of the nineteenth century.
CHAPTER ONE Prologue: The family background of Charlotte Frances nee Dana The Dana family in America 1 Edmund Dana in England and Scotland 3 The children of Edmund Dana and Helen nee Kinnaird 14 William Pulteney Dana, father of Charlotte Frances 31
CHAPTER TWO The Road to Divorce The Bible and the census 43 Breakdown 53 Divorce 59 France to Australia 67 A note on the Crespigny surname 77
CHAPTER THREE Victoria in the Gold Rush The Dana brothers and the native police 79 Family in Victoria 95 Commissioner, Magistrate and Warden of the Goldfields 105 Letters from home 113
CHAPTER FOUR Amherst and Talbot 1855-1871 Settlements at Daisy Hill 121 Public and private life 128 Farewell to Talbot 142 In search of Daisy Hill Farm: a note 145 Tragic cousins: George and Augustus, the sons of Henry Dana 149
CHAPTER FIVE Ararat to St Kilda 1871-1889 Bairnsdale, Bendigo and Bright, with a brief return to Talbot 157 Magistrate at Ararat 163 Constantine Trent in Australia 1875-1881 173 Rose Crespigny and Frank Beggs 182 Philip Crespigny and Annie Frances Chauncy 191
CHAPTER SIX Eurambeen 1889-1904 The second marriage of Philip Champion Crespigny 207 The letters of Constantine Trent Champion Crespigny 1889-1896 207 Banks and the land: the crisis of the 1890s 216 The Eurambeen Letters 1898-1904 218
CHAPTER SEVEN Epilogue: The immediate descendants of Charlotte Frances Champion Crespigny nee Dana Philip Champion de Crespigny 1850-1927 253 Philip Champion de Crespigny 1879-1918 256 Constantine Trent Champion de Crespigny 1882-1952 259 Francis George Travers Champion de Crespigny 1892-1968 261 Hugh Vivian Champion de Crespigny 1897-1969 262 Royalieu Dana [Roy] Champion de Crespigny 1905-1985 263 Claude Montgomery Champion de Crespigny 1908-1991 264 Rose (1858-1937) and Frank Beggs (1850-1921) 265 Postscript: Ada, Viola and Rose 266 John Neptune Blood 1869-1942 267
A great emigration necessarily implies unhappiness of some kind or other in the country that is deserted. For few persons will leave their families, connections, friends, and native land, to seek a settlement in untried foreign climes, without some strong subsisting causes of uneasiness where they are, or the hope of some great advantages in the place to which they are going.
Thomas Robert Malthus, An Essay on the Principle of Population (1798)
Charlotte Frances Dana and her second husband Philip Robert Champion Crespigny came to Melbourne in 1852. Through their son Philip, who took the full surname of Champion de Crespigny, they were the founders of the Australian branch of the family.
In Champions from Normandy, published in 2017, Rafe de Crespigny discussed the history of the family, later known by the surname Champion de Crespigny, from the earliest records in France to their forced emigration as Huguenots in the seventeenth century and then the establishment in England during the eighteenth century. The present volume considers the experiences of the first generation in Australia. It is centred upon the life of Charlotte Frances, for she and her brother were central to the decision to emigrate, and she lived to see her first great-grandchildren in the new country and the new century.
Born in 1820, Charlotte died in 1904, and that period of eighty-four years was a time of enormous and dramatic change. She was first a subject of King George IV, former Prince Regent, and she lived through the reigns of William IV and Queen Victoria into the first years of Edward VII. Her voyage to Australia in 1851-52 lasted four months; fifty years later a steamship passage took only six weeks, less than half that time. When she arrived in Victoria, travel was by horse and cart, often no faster than seven miles a day; she would later take a train from the goldfields town of Beaufort and reach Melbourne in a matter of hours; while at the time of her death the Wright brothers in the United States were making their first powered flights at Kitty Hawk.
So it was a time of progress, but it was also an age of uncertainty. Health and medicine were both erratic, and diseases which are now quite easily treated were dangerous and could be fatal. Infant or child mortality was very high – to such a degree that many children were baptised with the name of an older sibling who had gone before them: Charlotte had two brothers christened Francis Richard Benjamin, three called Douglas and two more named William. And even those who grew to maturity could be crippled or killed by accident or sickness: one brother died in his thirties and another at the age of just forty; two young nephews died of scarlet fever and one of tetanus; and Charlotte’s son Constantine Trent Champion Crespigny and her sister-in-law Sophia nee Walsh both died of tuberculosis.
Such dangers applied still more to women of the time. Childbirth always carried a risk and stillbirth was by no means uncommon, while the absence of any practical means of contraception meant that pregnancy was often frequent: Charlotte had seven children, but she had twelve full and half-siblings, both her father and her mother had twelve brothers and sisters, and her mother’s father had sired ten more on another wife. Similarly, in her first marriage she experienced three pregnancies in three years, with one daughter who would live to maturity, a son who died in his very first year, and a third child which was still-born. With the vagaries of midwifery and the chances of infection, many women were weakened or simply worn out by such frequent fertility.
Apart from these physical matters, social and financial life could likewise be a question of fortune, good or ill. Charlotte’s family could fairly be described as gentlefolk: her grand-mother was the daughter of a Scottish baron; her grandfather came from a notable back-ground in the American colonies; one of her uncles was a general in the British army and owned a landed estate; two of her aunts married wealthy men; and in 1839 Charlotte herself was married to a prosperous solicitor in Gloucestershire.
Apparent security, however, could change very quickly. Soon after Charlotte’s wedding her father’s printing business failed, he was sent to prison for debt and was stripped of all property. The last years of his life were survived on a small pension in the home of his daughter and son-in-law.
Bankruptcy and indebtedness were indeed a constant threat: if a bank failed, its notes were worthless – and much of the currency in circulation was issued by private banks; the system of limited liability was not in common use, so the failure of a business could bring ruin to its owner; and a batch of unpaid bills could bring a cascade of misfortune.
The position was even more precarious for women. Until quite recent times, a married woman was identified with her husband, with no separate legal or financial existence, while unmarried women had limited opportunities for a meaningful career which might enable them to support themselves. Married, unmarried or widowed, most women were obliged to rely upon their families. When Charlotte Frances’ husband Philip Robert was taken ill, he was entitled to a pension, but after his death there was no further official or government support; and her unmarried daughters Ada and Viola were equally dependent upon the goodwill of their more prosperous kinfolk.
One question may always be raised of any Australian whose family arrived within the last 250 years: “Why did they come?” For convicts, it was compulsory; very often, notably in the years of gold rush, it was the hope of sudden fortune. For Charlotte’s brother Henry Edmund Dana, educated as a gentleman but with few opportunities at home, it was the hope of better prospects than could be expected in England – and for Charlotte and her second husband Philip Robert Champion Crespigny it was a means to escape the social and financial embarrassment of a dramatic and well-publicised divorce.
Regardless of such an erratic beginning, however, that second marriage was affectionate and companionable, and even after Philip Robert’s sad slow death Charlotte was able to enjoy the support of her daughters and the successes of her son Philip and her grandchildren. In a letter of 1858, her father-in-law wrote in praise of her patience and courage, and of her determination to make the best of everything.
Richard Rafe Champion de Crespigny and Christine Anne Young nee Champion de Crespigny December 2020
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.
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
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.
‘Leyton: Churches’, in A History of the County of Essex: Volume 6, ed. W R Powell (London, 1973), pp. 214-223. British History Onlinehttp://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/essex/vol6/pp214-223 . “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 ancestry.com
Asiatic Journal. Parbury, Allen, and Company. 1832. P.124. Death notice.
Among the papers of my great grandfather Constantine Trent Champion de Crespigny (1882 – 1952) donated to the State Library of South Australia by his daughter Charlotte de Crespigny is a letter of bequest, giving directions about the distribution of the writer’s belongings after her death.
The bulk of her possessions she leaves to her niece and goddaughter Ada Isidora Crespigny. She also mentions Ada’s sister Viola, Philip Crespigny, and various relatives, including her grandfather Edmund Dana.
The author was fourth great aunt Anna Penelope Wood née Dana (1814 – 1890). Anna had no children to receive her possessions automatically upon her death; her bequest is rather a considered working-out of who should get what, an insight into her opinion of the people she regarded as suitable recipients.
It is interesting that Anna was still so closely connected with her Australian relatives, for following the emigration of the family to Victoria in 1851, Charlotte Crespigny and her daughter Ada never returned to England and Anna did not travel to Australia. But it is clear that they stayed in correspondence. Anna sent a copy of “Two Years Before the Mast” to her sister Charlotte, for example.
The following directions I wish to be faithfully fulfilled after my death.
To my niece Ada Isidora Crespigny I bequeath my evening dresses, lace dress, scarves, shawls, my dressing case (once belonged to my Father) & all the Jewelry & ornaments which it contains (except the Diamond ring and the plain torquoise ring which I leave to Mrs Greenham & her daughter after her – To Ada I Crespigny I also leave my Gold watch and bracelets containing the miniatures of my Grandfather the Revd Edmund Dana, also the portrait of him hanging over the piano. My great grandfather Charles 6th Lord Kinnaird – his likeness is the one in the scarlet coat – my grandfather is dressed in a blue velvet coat – I also leave the said Ada my brooches containing the miniatures of my Grandfather the Revd Ed. Dana my great grandfather the Revd Dr Grueber Provost of Trinity College.
Dubin & My brother William Pulteney Dana, all the photographs of the Danas & George 6th Lord Kinnaird & George 9th Lord Kinnaird & of Queen Victoria also my photograph album, and other photos in cases and frames – all these family portraits I wish for Philip Crespigny and his sons to inherit after the death of Ada so that they and their descendants so that they may retain them in their family for ever. All my music books, work boxes & baskets all my fancy articles, I also bequeath to my niece and goddaughter Ada –
To Rose E Greenham I leave my amethyst brooch and bracelets my little fancy work bags and
Longfellows poems. To Edith ? Greenham I leave my Indian pebble bracelets, my red leather writing case – To Katherine Maltby I leave my amethyst earrings. To Viola Crespigny I leave my cameo bracelets, the likeness of her mother when a girl, & the little dog lying on a red cushion which she worked. Also to Ada Crespigny I leave the portraits of the Countess of Chesterfield (the Honble Anne Forester) – the photograph of her cousins grouped together – the portrait of our uncle Sir William Rowan Hamilton & the photograph of our cousin Mrs Rathbone & the one of myself and our father grouped together – To the said Ada I also leave all my books among which are Dana’s and Longfellows’ works. To Alice Gough I leave my Indian Cedar Wood Chest which stands in the Drawing Room
also a book called “The Land and the book” To Grahame Parry I leave my three Japanese China jars These are simple keepsakes to dear friends who have been kind to me – To my good and faithful Sidney Smith I leave my carbuncle ring Farrers Life of Christ & Picturesque Europe. To his brother Jasper I leave Capcis Family Bible for a keepsake. To Mary Ellen Jones I leave all my wearing apparel (except what I have left to Ada Crespigny) my sewing machine & all the odds and ends ?? ?? my clothing. I particularly desire that she will keep for her own use every thing that I have left to her. She is not to part with a single article. To my dear Wilfred I leave all the furniture books pictures plate ??? plate China House linen & whatever money or property I may possess on condition that he takes care of and provides fo as far as he is able Mary Ellen Jones & Catherine Wood as far as he is able as long as they live.
My father has some of the miniatures Anna mentions, for example the Reverend Edmund Dana and the Reverend Dr Grueber. He also has “the little dog lying on a red cushion which [Charlotte Frances] worked.” When I was a child this tapestry – later left to my grandfather Geoff CdeC by Viola’s younger sister Rose Beggs née Champion de Crespigny – hung in my bedroom.
State Library South Australia Records of Sir Trent de CrespignyNumber ACC 2898
Among my great aunt Nancy’s books was a copy of “Two Years Before the Mast” by Richard Henry Dana, a second edition, published in 1869. The book, presented by Dana to Anna Penelope Wood née Dana (1814 – 1890), was passed on to her sister Charlotte Frances Champion Crespigny née Dana (1820 – 1904), who was Nancy Movius’s grandmother and my third great grandmother. It is now in the possession of Nancy’s son.
The book is inscribed
Anna Penelope Dana Wood From her Affectionate Cousin The Author June 9th 1869
Underneath is a supplementary inscription:
CFC Crespigny from her sister Mrs Wood
A letter from Richard Henry Dana to his cousin is kept with the book
Boston May 25 1869
My dear Cousin
I have asked my English publisher to send you a copy of the second edition of my narrative, to which I have added a revisit to the old Scenes. I pray accept it from me as a passing* proof of my affection.
Rich H Dana Jr
Mrs A Penelope Wood
* ? not clearly decipherable
Richard Henry Dana junior was born in Cambridge Massachusetts in 1815. His father Richard Henry Dana senior (1787 – 1879) was a lawyer but seldom practiced law, instead writing poetry and criticism. Richard Henry Dana senior was the son of noted lawyer Francis Dana and the grandson of Richard Dana, also a prominent lawyer.
Richard Henry Dana junior was educated first by a strict schoolmaster, regarded by many as an excessively harsh disciplinarian. In his later school years Dana was taught in a school run by the poet and essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson. Dana then went to Harvard College but contracted measles, which led to inflammation of his eyes, forcing him to take a break from his studies.
Dana signed on the brig ‘Pilgrim‘ in 1834. His first passage was from Boston to California around Cape Horn. He returned two years later on the ship ‘Alert‘, which rounded the Horn in the middle of an Antarctic winter. On this journey Dana suffered from scurvy and was forced to bear the pain of an infected tooth.
In Boston Dana resumed his legal studies, graduated in 1837, and was admitted to the Bar in 1840. He had kept a diary during his voyages and this formed the basis of his memoir, Two Years Before the Mast, which he published in 1840. The title refers to the quarters of ordinary seamen, which were in the often wet and uncomfortable forward part of the boat.
Dana published a second edition in 1869 with an appendix giving details of his return visit to California in 1859. It is a copy of this edition which he presented to his second cousin, my fourth great aunt, Anna Penelope Wood.
Richard Henry Dana junior had met Anna, her father and her husband on a trip to England in 1856. He stayed with Anna and her husband in Shrewsbury. [My post ‘S is for Shrewsbury‘ includes some extracts from his diary entries from that visit.]
It appears that Richard Henry Dana asked his English publishers to send Mrs Wood a copy of the book, with an inscription on his behalf, and to include his personal letter. The handwriting of the inscription is not the same as that of the letter, and was presumably that of a member of the publishing house Sampson Low & Co. The supplementary inscription is in the handwriting of Charlotte Frances Champion Crespigny née Dana (1820-1904), younger sister of Anna Penelope Dana Wood.
It seems that Anna Penelope passed the book to her sister, who added the note concerning its provenance. The book was later passed to Charlotte Frances’s grandson Constantine Trent CdeC (1882-1952) and then to his daughter Nancy Movius née CdeC (1910-2003). It is now back in Boston / Cambridge, where the work was first composed having travelled around the world from England via Australia.
Our house in Ballarat is two blocks from Dana street, named after Henry Edmund Pulteney Dana (1820-1852), commander of the native police corps in Victoria, who was responsible for collecting the first gold licence fees in Ballarat in 1851. Henry Dana was the brother of my third great grandmother Charlotte Champion Crespigny née Dana; he was my fourth great uncle.
The Dana family is a notable American family, and when in 1989 Greg and I spent a few days in Massachusetts, we visited some places there connected with my Dana forebears.
This was through the kindness of my great aunt Nancy Movius née Champion de Crespigny (1910 – 2003), sister of my paternal grandfather. Nancy, born in Australia, had married an American and settled in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Some of our Dana forebears lived in this area, from as early as 1640. Nancy shared my interest in our family history, and during our visit she drove us to the nearby town of Concord, where, it is said, “the shot heard round the world”, the first shot of the American Revolutionary War, rang out on 19 April 1775.
As they neared Lexington, the report came to them that some five hundred men were under arms; and I am not disinclined to reconcile their testimony with the facts, by the consideration that they heard the roll of our drums, and perhaps saw the flash or heard the report of our signal-guns, intended to call our men together, and thought them a defiance ; and perhaps officers in the centre or rear might have thought them hostile shots. But the front knew they had not been fired upon, and saw the short, thin line of sixty men with arms at rest. Pitcairn, when he rode up to them, and ordered them to surrender their arms and disperse, knew they had not fired. He was not the man to talk after hostile shots. Pitcairn has had the fate which befalls many men who carry out orders that afterwards prove fatally ill-judged. When he ordered our men to surrender their arms and disperse, he was executing the orders of his commander-in-chief and of his King. If Britain was in the right, Pitcairn was in the right. Twice they were ordered to surrender their arms and disperse; and twice they refused to obey, and stood their ground. Then came the fatal fire; and why not? General Gage had been authorized to use the troops for this very purpose. He was authorized to fire upon the people, if necessary to enforce the new laws, without waiting for the civil magistrate. He had resolved to do so. Had that volley subdued the resistance of Massachusetts, Pitcairn would have been the hero of the drama. Was he to leave a military array behind him, and not attempt to disarm and disband them? If they refused, was he to give it up? I have never thought it just or generous to throw upon the brave, rough soldier, who fell while mounting the breastworks at Bunker Hill, the fault which lay on the King, the Parliament, the Ministry, and the commander-in-chief. The truth is, the issue was inevitable. The first force of that kind which the King’s troops found in martial array was to be disarmed and disbanded; and, if they refused to obey, they were to be fired upon. Both sides knew this, and were prepared for it.
Hudson, Charles & Lexington Historical Society (Mass.) (1913). History of the town of Lexington, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, from its first settlement to 1868. Boston and New York Houghton Mifflin company. pp. 284-5 retrieved from archive.org
I have a further Dana connection to the beginning Revolutionary War.
One of Richard Henry Dana’s cousins (and my first cousin seven times removed) was George Dana (1742 – 1787), a Sergeant in Captain Jonathon Gates’ Company of Minutemen, which marched from Ashburnham on the Lexington Alarm of 19 April 1775.
Dana, Elizabeth Ellery (1956). The Dana Family in America. Wright & Potter Printing Company, 32 Derne Street, Boston. p. 482.
Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors in the Revolutionary War volume 4 page 388 retrieved through ancestry.com
Stearns, Ezra S (1887). History of Ashburnham, Massachusetts, from the grant of Dorchester Canada to the present time, 1734-1886 : with a genealogical register of Ashburnham families. Pub. by the town, Ashburnham, Mass. pp 139 – 145 – retrieved through Hathitrust and p. 674 retrieved through Hathitrust
My eighth great grandfather Richard Dana, born in England – quite possibly in Manchester – in 1617, crossed the Atlantic about 1640 and settled in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Around 1648 he married an American girl named Anne Bullard (1626 – 1711), who was born in Massachusetts. Between 1649 and 1670 they had eleven children. I am descended from Richard’s son Daniel (1663 – 1749) and grandson Richard (1700 – 1772).
My sixth great grandfather Richard Dana appears to have been the first of the family to graduate from a university – Harvard. He became a notable lawyer and politician, a magistrate, and a leading figure in the agitation against British imperial government. He was a founding member the Sons of Liberty, and led Massachusetts opposition to the Stamp Act of 1765.
I have written several times about Richard’s oldest son, my 5th great grandfather Edmund Dana (1739 – 1823). As a young man he travelled to Edinburgh to study. He married in Edinburgh in 1765 and became a clergyman in England with the support of his wife’s family. He did not return to America
On July 4, 1776, the 13 American colonies claimed independence from England, an event which eventually led to the formation of the United States. Each year on Independence Day, the fourth of July, Americans celebrate this historic event.
Edmund Dana’s brother Francis (1743-1811) has a prominent place in this period of American history. In 1773 he married Elizabeth (1751 – 1807), daughter of William Ellery, who became one of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence.
Francis Dana became a leading lawyer and a close associate of George Washington. In 1775 the Continental Congress sent Francis Dana to England in an unsuccessful attempt to reconcile the differences leading to the Revolutionary War. He returned the following year and reported to General Washington that a friendly settlement of the dispute was impossible. Dana’s opinion helped influence the adoption of the 1776 Declaration of Independence. He was elected a delegate to the Second Continental Congress on 10 December 1776, where he signed the Articles of Confederation in 1778. He was sent as Ambassador to Russia in 1780. The future President John Quincy Adams served as his secretary. Again a member of Congress in 1784 and a leader of the Federalist Party, Francis Dana later joined the Supreme Court of Massachusetts, where he served as Chief Justice from 1791 to 1806.
On Saturday 11 May 2019 we drove 75 miles south from Manchester to Wroxeter, near Shrewsbury, where in 1772 my fifth great grandfather Edmund Dana (1739 – 1823) became vicar and settled with his wife Helen née Kinnaird (abt. 1749 – 1795), and where they raised their family.
We drove past the Mainwaring Arms at Whitmore en route south
The narrow lanes that brought us finally to Wroxeter took us past the ruins of Uriconium, said to be the fourth largest town of Roman Britain.
St Andrew’s Church in Wroxeter, now a designated Grade 1 listed building, ‘of exceptional interest which may not be destroyed’, closed in 1980. It is now used for ‘champing‘, camping in churches. (There’s also ‘glamping’, glamorous camping, not the same thing.) At the western end of St Andrews, just inside the main entrance, there were stretchers and a tea-urn for the use of passing champers.
St Andrew’s Church Wroxeter
Charlotte found a Dana grave in the churchyard and in the chancel we found stones that marked the graves of Edmund and Helen Dana. Unfortunately they are now too worn to read.
The grave of Edmund Dana , son of Charles Dana and grandson of the Reverend Edmund Dana, buried 18 February 1836
From Wroxeter we visited a National Trust property a few miles away called Attingham Park, once the seat of the Berwicks. I wondered if Edmund Dana and his wife ever called on them. Lord Berwick was very very rich and grand, and the Reverend Dana, as merely one of the local clerics, perhaps moved in different social circles.
In the afternoon we spent an hour or two looking at Shrewsbury. Unfortunately, the Dana Walk was closed for repairs and we could not see the prison.
Holywell Terrace Shrewsbury where my 4th great grandfather William Pulteney Dana (1776 – 1861) lived at the time of the 1841, 1851, and 1861 censuses.