Monday, 15 October 2012

Mystery Monday – Why did he come?

Henry Raikes GARRETT was born on this day in 1838, the second of twin boys. The first twin, John Clavell GARRETT died less than a month later.
Henry Raikes GARRETT (15 Oct 1838 – 27 Feb 1876) arrived in South Australia on 20 Sep 1858 on the African, with his arrival noted in the South Australian Register of the following day.

Why Adelaide?
Could it be that a quite distant cousin Raikes CURRIE (1801-1881) was a founder director of the South Australian Company, a member of other South Australian Associations, and one of the donors in 1859 of the silver bowl from which the annual Adelaide City Council 'toast to Colonel Light' is drunk? Henry and Raikes shared great grandparents.

Why come to Australia at all?
Henry was the only surviving son of a brewer with a successful business and councillor of Portsmouth, John Thomas GARRETT (1802 – 1852), and the grandson of two high-ranking naval men: Vice Admiral of the White Henry GARRETT (1774 – 1846) and Captain John CLAVELL (1776 – 1846). All these men were deceased by the time Henry left England.

Wasn’t there an inheritance?
Henry’s father left everything to his wife Mary Charlotte GARRETT nee CLAVELL (1803 – 1876) for the benefit of herself and ‘my dear children’. When the will was written in 1848, there were only two surviving children, Mary aged 12 and Henry aged 10. (His mother outlived him).

Why come so young?
We have a small photo of him as a very young midshipman in uniform and there are mixed stories in the family as to whether he was in the navy or the merchant navy.
Why did the grandson of two such notable naval men leave the service? (Captain, then Lieutenant John Clavell was a hero at Trafalgar alongside Collingwood.)

Had he been in trouble in England? Was he trying to ‘escape’ something / someone?
Henry was only 19 years old on his arrival, yet called himself a ‘gentleman’. It wasn’t long before he got himself into trouble in Australia, being charged with forgery with intent to defraud in June 1861. The amount was only 7/-.

Why did he need to defraud this relatively small amount?
It seems Henry wasn’t very good with money. By Oct 1867 he was insolvent and in front of a commissioner. Henry’s answers were pretty vague, particularly as to amounts of money from his family. It seems he owed a number of people money, including a loan of £600-700 from his wife’s brother.
In this questioning it was revealed that on his trip to England from 1865-66, Henry was given some ‘plate’ by his mother but had sold it in England to a brother-in-law for £100. He hadn’t been left any plate in his father’s will, in fact he wasn’t left anything at all – it was all left to his mother.
Because of the to-ing and fro-ing in Henry’s answers, the Commissioner questioned as to how he could give such contradictory and nonsensical answers.

In 1870 Henry with his wife, Louisa Jane LEWIS (1845 – 1917) and three young children moved to Sydney and lived in the Paddington Woollahra area. Two more children were born there before Henry died in Feb 1876, leaving his wife pregnant with my great grandfather. See the entry on Louisa on 2 Oct for more details.

Henry was 37 years old when he died. His cause of death was "brain disease, about one week". There is a handwritten notation on the certificate: Note: Particulars re Cause of Death (omitted to be furnished by Informant who is absent from the Colony) have been supplied by Registrar, no certificate having been received from Dr Fortescue, beore his departure for England. Hy Gale 7th July 1876
So even the events of Henry’s death seem bit of a mystery!


  1. Questions, questions, questions, I enjoyed reading your post. Isn't this part of the fun of genealogy, not knowing all the answers? And maybe, one day... And until that day we can indulge in speculation :)

  2. Hope some distant cousin finds your post snd provides answers. This is grest cousin bait.

    1. Fingers crossed but Henry only had 6 grandchildren and 4 of them were my grandfather and his 3 siblings who I knew.

  3. Thanks for following my blog, Jackie :)

    1. I found the latest military one very interesting and look forward to learning more Dutch history. We really enjoyed visiting the Dutch Resistance museum in Amsterdam. I must write more about that and my father in law soon.