Best, the earliest of my ancestors to arrive in Australia, begins
an interesting story of money, intrigue and hardship. Born 1821
in Salisbury, Wiltshire England, he supposedly came from a wealthy
family and had started as a tailor when he had a falling out
with his family, apparently due to marrying an Irish catholic
17 years of age Henry decided to join the 11th Regiment of Foot
in 1839. Six years later in 1845 he sailed with his wife Mary
(nee Flynn) to Norfolk Island as a guard on a convict ship.
From there he went to Sydney in 1848 and then finally to Adelaide
in 1849, where he settled and lived the rest of his life working
as a policeman and finally as a tailor, the trade he had started
as a youth. Although wealth was in his family, Henry never saw
any of it, and money was left unclaimed in England. A mystery
and whole family tale surrounds his life and events. Henry died
destitute and was buried in a pauper's grave.
the 9 children that Henry and Mary had only 4 lived past 6yrs
and all but one, John Henry, were females. If John (my GG grandfather)
had not survived the Best name would have not continued to what
it is today. All 4 surviving children have descendants living
today, many still in South Australia.
first child Eliza was born on Norfolk Island in 1846. She only
lived to the age of 6 before dying of Scarlet Fever in Adelaide.
second child was John Henry born 1848. John worked as a tinsmith,
plumber and ironworker for most of his life and was attributed
to helping put the roof on the old Childrens Hospital. Some
of his handiwork still survives in the family in the way of
handmade kettles. John is also attributed to being the first
baby born in the Victoria Barracks in Sydney where his father
served as a soldier. In fact, it's possible he was born there
or born at sea on his way from Norfolk Island as the barracks
had just been built, so they were some of the first to take
up residence. John married Sarah Jennings in 1873 and had eight
children. Sarah died of septicaemia 11 days after giving birth
to the 8th child Walter. Ten years later John re-married Susan
Churcher. Susan already had 3 children as a single mother, Florence
May, Catherine Maud (who died around age 20) and George (who
died nine days after birth). John Henry and Susan had one daughter
together also named Susan.
third child was Mary Ann born about 1850. Mary Ann married Charles
Edward Wilson Morgan in 1872 and had nine children of which
only three survived.
fourth child was Catherine born 1851 and died at age 1.
fifth child was Harriet born 1855 and died at age 1 month.
sixth child was Louisa born 1857 and married Charles Mathew
Fillmore in 1877 having five children.
seventh child was Charlotte born 1859 and died just short of
her 5th birthday.
eighth child was Emma born 1863 and died weeks short of her
nineth child was Agnes born 1865. Agnes married Wilhelm Ludemann
from Hanover Prussia in 1892 and had six children.
am currently working on the Best story, if you have any material,
photos or information of any kind, no matter how small, I would
love to hear from you.