Henry John Cooper
- Born: 1823, Lovington, Somerset England
- Marriage (1): Jane Elizabeth Chafe on 8 May 1846 in St Johns, Newfoundland Canada
- Died: 24 Oct 1887, McCormack St, Newcastle, NSW Australia at age 64
- Buried: Sandgate Cemetery, Newcastle, NSW Australia
Ann Jackman notes:
As a young man, he went to sea; in whose service, I am not certain. He used to tell the story of how he sailed to Murmansk. There, he said, it was so cold and the Russian sailors on the ships in port were so ill-nourished that they were eating the tallow that greased the rigging of their ships. This would probably have been in the late 1830s. The question well may be asked, Why Russia? It is very difficult to come by such information but certainly trade in the Baltic flourished in the preceding century and trade with Russia may have been an extension of that. In the 1770s, for example, ship volumes in the Anglo-Baltic trade might have been such as 1,000 ships loading at Danzig up to 1750. This later increased to 1,300 ships. By 1700 some 250 ships annually sailed from Riga, increasing to 500 by 1750. In 1787 some 4,388 ships left Baltic ports with 1,300 of them carrying timber.
Edward Vincent Chafe thinks he then may have worked for Newman and Company. The Newman family of Dartmouth established an import-export trade mainly in cloth and wool but by the early 1500s, Thomas Newman began importing European wines in exchange for fish and salt.
By the 17th Century, John Newman was sending his own fishing vessels to Newfoundland and in 1601 Richard Newman was granted fishing rights on the south coast of the island. Thus they set up seasonal fishing stations at Pushthrough, Harbour Breton, Gaultois and Hermitage.
The practice of sending port wine to Newfoundland began rather by accident in about 1679. The Newmans' first ship carrying such cargo was chased by a French privateer and ran off course, causing the captain to decide to make for St John's. The ship wintered over and, upon returning to London, it was discovered that the quality of the port had greatly improved. Thus began the 300-year-old tradition of sending wines to Newfoundland to mature. In the disastrous fire that razed most of the commercial area of St John's in 1846, Newman & Co's premises were almost the only ones left intact.
Between 1730 and 1775, the business in Newfoundland was run by brothers Richard and Robert Newman. Between them they operated a fleet of about ten vessels. It was a sound business decision for the firm, which remained in the family but underwent some name changes, to move to the outports.
Each spring in Dartmouth, Newmans would recruit "pauper-apprentices" to come to Newfoundland for an 18-month apprenticeship from the surrounding areas. In 1774 it was said that Devon and Dorset supplied "lads from the plough, men from the threshing floor and persons from all sizes, trades and from the manufactories who flocked annually, in the spring, to Newfoundland in the hope of returning with six or ten pounds from the land of fish.
The 'green men' came from such parishes as Ashburton, Chudleigh, Hennock, South Bovey and Okehampton. They were given the option of returning to England or remaining in Newfoundland after serving their apprenticeship. Most decided the latter over returning to the depressed conditions in North Devon and Dorset at the time. These 'green-men' would become the early planters of the south coast.
After what I take to have been a short stay in England - presumably just enough time to present their four children to the grandparents and other relations and to check out the availability of jobs in the area, Henry & Jane Cooper applied for assisted passages to Australia. Henry Cooper paid £1 but the relevant space in the shipping record for Jane Cooper and the children is left blank. My guess is that, with agriculture in a depressed state, the parish refused to take responsibility for the family (as it would have been obliged to do if the breadwinner was unemployed - maybe they paid for Jane Cooper and the children). They boarded the Queen of England, Master M Nolan, at Liverpool on Friday 18 March 1859. A fully-rigged vessel of 1195 tons built in Quebec and registered the previous year at Liverpool, she arrived in Sydney on 8 July 1859 after 3½ months at sea, bringing 429 immigrants. Jane Cooper could read and write but Henry Cooper could read only, according to the Agent's Passenger List for the ship, but I suspect that he could write as well. The actual ship's register states the birthplace of Henry Cooper as Somerset and that of Jane Cooper and the children as Newfoundland. Henry Cooper's parents were still alive in Somerset and, though Jane Cooper's f ather was deceased, her mother was still alive in Newfoundland. Henry Cooper gave his profession as labourer. The two eldest children, Angelina Cooper, aged 13, and Marianne (Mary Ann) Cooper, aged 9, could both read and write, while Lucy Cooper, aged 6, could read only and Luke Cooper, the baby aged 3, was too young to be literate.
On arrival in Sydney Harbour, the family would have two options for reaching the Hunter region where they settled. The railway between Sydney and Maitland had opened in 1857 but I think it more likely that they would have travelled by steamer. A steamer service Sydney - Newcastle - Morpeth would have taken about 12 hours. Morpeth was as far as steam vessels could navigate and the preserved port facilities today indicate how much deeper and wider the river was and how much traffic there must have been in its hey-day. Perhaps they did not travel that far as I have been unable to find out the exact location of their property at this point. I do know that in 1872 Henry John Cooper farmed at St Leonards on the Williams River near Clarence Town and, as this was a commodious and well developed port and Australia's first shipbuilding centre in those days, they may have disembarked there.
Henry John Cooper eventually went to Newcastle to live with his daughter, Doe Cooper, in McCormack Street on the hill overlooking the Town Hall, possibly after the death of William Lowe in 1878, though his son, William Henry Blandford Lowe, had virtually taken over the management of St Leonards in the late 1860s. Here he appears to have got a job as a painter and, since the family has a tenuous connection with the Ash family, I believe he may have worked for Frederic Ash.
Noted events in his life were:
• source. 263 Lynn Iliffe & Janice Wiadrowski
• connection. Ann Jackman 's links to Robert are as follows:
Annette Cooper (1939) married Colin Jackman (c1935)
Her father was Ivan Cooper (1905)
His father was William Cooper (1868)
His father was Henry Cooper (1823) who married Jane Chafe (1826)
They had Angelina Cooper (1848) who married John Ford (1853)
They had Frederick Ford (1876)
He had Hilda Ford (1909) who married Kingsley Mogensen (1904)
They had Colleen Mogensen (1931) who married John Iliffe (1953)
They had Gary Iliffe (1953) who married Lynn Peck (1955)
Her father was Ernest Peck (1929)
His father was Albert Ernest Peck (1899)
His father was Henry Peck (1859)
His father was James Peck and he also had Charlotte Peck (1843) who married James Dawes (1843)
They had Annie Florence Dawes (1873) who married Arthur Augustus Bray (1869)
They had Albert Bray (1896)
He had Robert Alfred Bray (1920)
He had Robert Arthur Bray (1947) who married me - Robyn Bray (nee Davies) (1950)
Henry married Jane Elizabeth Chafe, daughter of Thomas Chafe and Ann Chafe, on 8 May 1846 in St Johns, Newfoundland Canada. (Jane Elizabeth Chafe was born in 1826 in Petty Harbour, Newfoundland Canada and died on 7 Jul 1870 in Bolwarra, Hunter Valley, NSW Australia.)