“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” - Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina
This tragic family story ends, or perhaps starts, with Jonathan Hardy, father of Rebecca Hardy and grandfather of Mary Ann Simmonds. Strictly speaking, some of this story pre-dates the Victorian Era but it is the Victorian writers Dickens, Hardy and the Brontes who wrote such tragic stories.
Jonathan Hardy was born 8 November 1807 and baptised 24 November 1807, in Upper Sheringham on the north Norfolk coast, the son of William Hardy, a shoemaker, and Mary Chapman. Jonathan was the oldest of at least 5 children and the only son I have found. His siblings were all baptised in Norwich and I don’t know why his parents were in Upper Sheringham in 1807.
I have not yet found a record of an apprenticeship but Jonathan Hardy was probably apprenticed to a glazier sometime around 1822, when he was fourteen.
In January 1828, Jonathan Hardy was sentenced to 6 months imprisonment larceny, having stotlen a silk scarf from a Mr Joseph Engall of St Augustine’s, Norwich.
In 1830, Jonathan’s daughter Rebecca Hardy was baptised in Norwich and the record indicates that he was a glazier. I have not yet found a record of his marriage to Mary Carr, Rebecca’s mother. Mary and Rebecca seem to have gone to Whissonset, Norfolk, to stay with Mary’s parents (see my previous post), while Jonathan stayed in Norwich.
On 21 October 1835, Jonathan Hardy was convicted of stealing a glazier’s diamond and sentenced to 7 years transportation. Glaziers use industrial grade diamonds to cut glass. After spending sometime on the Leviathan docked in Portsmouth, Jonathan was transferred to the Moffat and sailed to Sydney on 5 May 1836.
Convict indents from the 1830s contain a wealth of information. Jonathan Hardy, age 29, could read and write. He was protestant, married with one child and a glazier and painter. He was 5ft 4.5 inches, so not tall. His complexion was dark ruddy, hair was dark brown, eyes dark hazel and whiskers carroty. Perhaps this last trait was passed down the generations, as my father had ginger colouring in his beard. Jonathan had a cocked nose and scars on the left side of his upper lip, the top of his left little finger and on his left hand. Maybe his scars were from cuts from working with glass? The indent also mentions his previous conviction. Interestingly, most of the convicts had past convictions, which doesn’t fit with the myth that people were transported for very petty crimes.
In 1841, Jonathan Hardy married Ellen Walsh in Sydney, NSW. Jonathan and Ellen had at least two children, Rebecca and Elizabeth. This is not the only example I have come across of living children’s names being re-used, particularly where one parent is different. Presumably Rebecca was a family name or had some other special meaning to Jonathan. Both Australian daughters married in 1859, Rebecca to Donald Starchan and Elizabeth to Michael Murray, and were living on the New South Wales Central Coast in the 1860’s.
I haven’t yet found a death record for Ellen but Jonathan married a third time, to Sarah Gafney, 9 April 1860, at St Mary’s Catholic Cathedral Sydney, NSW. Sarah was an Irish Catholic. At the time of his marriage, Jonathan was describes and a Painter living at Millers Point. Jonathan and Sarah had son Jonathan born in 1861.
In 1863, Jonathan Hardy was listed in the NSW Sands Directory living in Wentworth St, possibly in Parramatta, and working as a glazier and painter.
On Saturday 8 February 1868, Jonathan, his wife Sarah and son Jonathan were visiting their Gosford relatives. They went out shell collecting and then took a small punt out on the Brisbane Waters. The boat capsized and all three on board drowned. The bodies of Jonathan father and son were found the following morning and Sarah a few days later. They were taken to the house of son-in-law Michael Murray, who lived on the shoreline. Michael and Donald (Strachan) identified the bodies. The inquest found that it was an accident. The incident was reported in the Sydney Morning Herald and other newspapers. And so ends this three part tragedy.
Finally, it is curious that just over a hundred years later, some descendants of Jonathan Hardy migrated to Australia and settled on the NSW Central Coast.
Notes on Lineage: Me > Dad > John Edward Blake > Alice Mary Elliston > Mary Ann Simmonds (AKA Hardy) > Rebecca Hardy > Jonathan Hardy