Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Trove Tuesday - Cruelty and Discipline

I’m visiting my parents in Port Fairy for a couple of days and this has prompted much discussion about the Stonehouse side of Mum’s family. 

They were very early settlers in this district.

We are descended from William STONEHOUSE (1826-1904), and his father Robert STONEHOUSE (c1794-1855).

A brother of William’s, John Marr STONEHOUSE (1823-1873) was brought before the Warrnambool court in June 1860 after a servant reported: 
“appallingly cruel treatment of his son George”.

The article from The Argus describes the alleged treatment:
...his father was in the habit of punishing him by putting a leather collar round his neck, fastened with a padlock, and attached to a chain, by which he was fastened up, sometimes to the bed-post, sometimes in the hall, and on one occasion in an open barn, where he was kept all night. She knew of no other punishment being inflicted on him, and he received his meals regularly, being attended by a sister, aged 12 years. The alleged cause of this treatment was the filthy habits of the boy. She also swore that when he promised to discontinue them, he was loosened and given his liberty, but repeated his former conduct, when his father would chain him up again. The child appeared healthy, and bore no appearance of violence.

Poor little George was born in 1852. It is presumed that his mother Isabella died around this time. He had an older sister Eliza and a brother John.

George’s widowed father John remarried in 1854, to widow Louisa Mollenoyux nee Bunker who also had three children from her first marriage.

By June 1860 when this case came to court, there was a house full of children as John and Louisa had started their own family and Louisa was pregnant with another.

Little George was “given over the care of some friend” as a result of the court case.

I wonder what happened to him. Looks like a job for Trove on another night.

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