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Frances Louisa Bussell (1782–1845)

by Jane Lydon and Xavier Reader

This article was published:

Frances Louisa Bussell (1782-1845) was an early emigrant to the Swan River colony, arriving in June 1834. She was descended on both her father’s and her mother’s sides from prominent slave-owners of long residence in Jamaica. Her father Thomas Legal(l) Yates (1752-1832) was born in Kingston, Jamaica in 1752.[1] Her mother Mary Beckford (1761-1813) was born in the parish of St Catherine, Jamaica, in 1761.[2] Mary’s parents were Ballard Beckford (1732-1764) and Mary Smith (d.1774).[3] Mary died in Southampton, England, in 1813.[4] Mary Beckford and Thomas Legal Yates married in the parish of Kingston, Jamaica, on 25 July 1778.[5] At the time of their marriage, Thomas Legal was described on the certificate as a “gent[leman] of Kingston” and Mary as a spinster belonging to the parish of Saint Catherine.[6] Frances was baptised on 16 October 1782 in Portsea, Hampshire, England.[7] She had at least four siblings, Mary Beckford (1779-1842), Vernon Gambier (c.1787-1802), Emily Pakenham (c.1788-1845) and Lenox MacBean (c.1791-1819).[8]

Frances’ father Thomas Legal was the owner of enslaved people in Jamaica between 1817 and 1832, along with his nephew, Thomas Legall Yates (1784-1835) of Brockhurst, who served as his attorney.[9] Thomas Legal also jointly owned enslaved people in Jamaica with his son-in-law John Bowker (1770-1847).[10] John married Frances’ sister Mary Beckford in August 1801.[11] In January 1824, concerned that the business of slavery was in decline, Thomas Yates wrote anxiously to his eldest daughter Mary to complain,  “what an unprofitable property ours is,” and that “slaves in particular [are] a very hazardous property.”[12] Thomas pleaded with her to divest from slavery, writing, 

I hope my Dear Mary that you will seriously weigh and…consider the Injury you do me by not consenting to the disposal of that property. The Interest of the Money lodged in the … joint Names of my self and our dear John would add much to my Comfort during the few years I may live and be secured to dear John at my death. If the probability of revolt, or total imancipation (sic) does not open your & Bowkers Eyes I do not know what will and I much fear we have delayed during this too long, for Slave property must be very much depressed.[13]

It is unknown whether Thomas Legal, Mary and John Bowker did indeed sell the ‘property’ referred to in this letter. One Mary Yates was an awardee for two estates in Westmoreland, Jamaica, but no compensation claims for John Bowker were recorded.[14] At least some of Thomas’ investments were retained: in 1835, Frances’ younger sister Emily Pakenham Huggins received £29 in compensation for “the Negroes.”[15] In 1836, Frances’ half-cousin Robert Ballard Yates received £261 in compensation for “14 Negroes” owned jointly by Thomas Legal Yates “of Brockhurst” and Frances’ father Thomas Legal Yates.[16]

As well as a planter, Thomas Legal pursued a naval career, entering the ranks as a Midshipman on the Centaur in His Majesty’s Royal Navy 1761.[17] Thomas Legal later served as a Lieutenant in the Jamaican Militia, Port Royal Regiment from at least 1808.[18] By December 1814, he was a Captain.[19] Thomas’s father, Edward Vernon Yates (1729-1801), was a Master and Commander in His Majesty’s Navy between 1755 and c.1780.[20] Thomas appears to have resided in Jamaica for long periods, although his children were born in England — Frances in Portsea, and her siblings in Alverstoke between 1779 and 1791. In her adulthood, an undated letter from Frances to her father indicates that he had been absent from England for such an extended period that she now had “two little strangers [his grandchildren] to introduce” to him.[21]

On Frances’ mother’s side, she was descended from the Beckfords, an “opulent and influential” family that by 1750 was one of three families that owned “nearly half of the cultivated land in Jamaica.”[22] Frances’ great-grandfather was Ballard Beckford I (c.1709-c.1760). [23] In 1750, he owned 6,087 acres of land across Jamaica.[24] The White Hall Estate, in Saint Mary, Jamaica, was owned by the Beckfords between 1766 and 1774, producing slave-grown sugar and rum.[25] Ballard Beckford I also owned a residence at Hampstead and another in Spanish Town.[26] Frances’ grandfather was Ballard Beckford II (1732-c.1764), who was the son of Ballard Beckford I and Mary Smith (d.1774).[27] Ballard Beckford II was described as owner of the White Hall Estate, which was valued at a total of £56,797 following abolition, with just under half the total value comprised by enslaved people.[28] Ballard Beckford II was also reported to be the owner of “considerable property” in North America, though details are unknown.[29]

A considerable portion of Ballard Beckford II’s wealth appears to have dissipated by the time of his death in 1764. His “extravagant” lifestyle habits prompted an act for the lands of his deceased estate to be sold in order to settle his various debts in 1767.[30] His daughter, Mary Beckford (Frances’ mother), described as sole heir, inherited his “considerable” estate.[31] It is unclear, however, whether any of this wealth was passed onto Frances herself, following her mother’s death in 1813, nor whether Frances received any wealth derived from slavery after her father Thomas Legal died in 1832. In 1836 Frances’ half-cousin and trustee Robert Ballard Yates asked her older sister Mary Beckford Bowker and brother-in-law John Bowker whether the two sisters, Frances Louisa Bussell and Emily Pakenham Huggins, should “not come in for a proportion” of their father’s estate, but no evidence of such inheritance has been found.[32]

Frances married William Marchant Bussell (1767-1820), later Reverend, in Portsea, England, on 3 May 1802.[33] William Marchant was the son of Joseph Bussell (1740-1833) and Mary Garrett (dates unknown).[34] They had married in Devon in 1766.[35] William graduated from Oxford University in 1792 and later took up a position as a Curate of St Mary’s church in Portsea, Hampshire.[36] The couple resided at the Portsea Vicarage following their marriage.[37] William and Frances had nine children together: John Garrett Bussell (1803-1875), Mary Yates (1805-1887), William (1807-1834), Frances ‘Fanny’ Louisa (b.1807), Lenox (1810-1845), Charles (1810-1856), Joseph Vernon (b.1813), Alfred Pickmore (1816-1882), and Elizabeth Capel (b.1818).[38] William Marchant died in 1820, aged 52, leaving his large family in financial difficulty.[39]

Following William’s death, Captain Robert Ballard Yates (1782-1863) acted as trustee to Frances and their children.[40] Robert was Frances’ half-cousin; the son of Ambrose Yates (1756-1844) and Frances Beckford.[41] Ambrose was the brother of Thomas Legal Yates (the elder), who was Frances’ father. Ambrose Yates and Thomas Legal Yates (the elder) shared the same father, Edward Vernon Yates (1729-1801), though whether they shared the same mother is unclear.[42] Born in Kingston, Jamaica, he had a long career serving in the Royal Navy, eventually attaining the rank of Commander; he served continuously until 1814, with over twelve years serving in the West Indies.[43] Robert was also the joint owner of the Exeter Estate in Port Royal, Jamaica, between 1817 and 1826.[44] Through the assistance of close relatives, £3,000 was raised to purchase consols (government bonds which yielded 3% annual interest) in order to support Frances and her children and provide funds for the education of her six sons.[45]

Early in 1830, Frances decided to emigrate to the Swan River colony accompanied by most of her children.[46] Due to the “inconvenience” of emigrating as one group, Frances was preceded by her children John Garrett Bussell, Joseph Vernon Bussell, Alfred Bussell and Charles Bussell, who arrived aboard the Warrior in March 1830.[47] They arrived bringing property valued at £556 pounds and were accordingly granted 5,440 acres of land.[48] Lennox, Frances Louisa and Elizabeth Capel Bussell followed, arriving on the Cygnet in January 1833.[49] The last of the group, Frances emigrated to the Swan River colony with her daughter Mary Yates Bussell aboard the James Pattison, departing from London and arriving in the colony on 19 June 1834.[50] Frances described feeling “bereft” in England in the absence of her sons, and hoped that the time “is not far distant when we shall all be reunited.”[51]

Frances joined her children in the Vasse region, settling on ‘Cattle Chosen’, her son John’s property of 3,500 acres in the area later known as Busselton.[52] By the time of Frances’ arrival at the property, it resembled “a comfortable substantial-looking mansion” of two stories, with surrounds “so completely park-like that you would scarcely believe that a year and ten months only ha[d] elapsed since the improving hand of the European was first extended over its glades.”[53] The property was highly successful, and throughout the 1840s, Cattle Chosen maintained profits of £800 per year.[54]

Details of her time in the colony in the decade between her arrival in 1834 and her death in 1845 are few, but Frances continued to play an active role in the foundation of the colony. She was instrumental in raising funds for the construction of the Saint Mary’s Anglican Church, Busselton, the oldest stone church in Western Australia, and on 4 March 1844, personally laid the foundation stone.[55] Frances died on 26 June 1845, aged 63, at Cattle Chosen.[56] She was buried in a vault within Saint Mary’s Church.[57]

Footnotes
[1] Thomas Legall Yates,’ Kingston, Jamaica, Church of England Parish Register Transcripts, 1753, Ancestry.com Online Database, https://www.ancestrylibrary.com.au/family-tree/person/tree/91183424/person/78025422698/facts; Certificate of death, Thomas Legal Yates, in Thomas Legal Yates, Purser, notes on executor’s application, National Archives UK (NAUK), ADM 45/1/224, https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C9935452; Thomas Legal Yates the elder,’ Legacies of British Slavery (LBS) Online Database, University College London, https://www.ucl.ac.uk/lbs/person/view/2146664499

[2] ‘Mary Beckford,’ St Catherine’s Parish Jamaica Parish Register Transcripts, Church of England, 1761, FHL1291724, Ancestry.com Online Database, https://www.ancestrylibrary.com.au/discoveryui-content/view/177802:9999; ‘Mary Beckford Yates,’ Burials in the Parish of Portsea, Church of England, FHL1596292, https://www.ancestrylibrary.com.au/discoveryui-content/view/1486389:9840?ssrc=pt&tid=91183424&pid=78025423264; Fairbairn papers, genealogy, undated, State Library of Western Australia (SLWA), Acc. no. 9301A/1393.

[3] ‘Mary Beckford,’ St Catherine’s Parish Jamaica Parish Register Transcripts; ‘Thomas Legall Yates of Brockhurst,’ LBS, University College London, https://www.ucl.ac.uk/lbs/person/view/1318320185

[4] ‘Mary Yates,’ Burials in the Parish of Portsea, Southampton, 1813, in Will of Thomas Legal Yates, Pursuer, National Archives UK, ADM 45/1/224, https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C9935452

[5] ‘Thomas Legall Yates and Mary Beckford,’ Marriages in the Parish of Saint Catherine, Church of England, 1778, vol. 2, 88/242, FamilySearch Online Database, https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:939F-DZXL-Z?i=87&cc=1827268&personaUrl=%2Fark%3A%2F61903%2F1%3A1%3AC3SN-1M3Z; Certificate of marriage, Mary Beckford and Thomas Legall Yates, 9th March 1810, in Thomas Legal Yates, Pursuer, National Archives UK, ADM 45/1/224, https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C9935452

[6] Certificate of marriage, Mary Beckford and Thomas Legall Yates, NAUK, ADM 45/1/224.

[7] ‘Frances Louisa Yates,’ England Births and Christenings, Church of England, 1782, FamilySearch Online Database, https://www.familysearch.org/ark/61903/1:1:JM1H-Z2D

[8] ‘Mary Beckford Yates,’ Burials in the Parish of Saint Marylebone, Middlesex, 1842, London Metropolitan Archives, P89/Mry1/345, Ancestry.com Online Database, https://www.ancestrylibrary.com.au/discoveryui-content/view/387017:1559?tid=&pid=&queryId=0e4d5e465e2ddb41e5e22966c1ecfe3b&_phsrc=Gnd326&_phstart=successSource; ‘Vernon Gambier Yates,’ Baptisms, England Births and Christenings, Alverstoke, 1787, Family Search Online Database, https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NFYD-4PP; ‘Emily Pakenham Yates,’ Baptisms, Hampshire Bishop’s Transcripts, Church of England, 1791, Lancashire Record and Hampshire Records Office, CHU 42/1A/3, FamilySearch Online Database, https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QLY4-VKJN; ‘Emily Pakenham Huggins,’ Civil Registration Death Index, England and Wales, 1845, England General Register Office, FHL43/60, Ancestry.com Online Database, https://www.ancestrylibrary.com.au/imageviewer/collections/8914/images/ONS_D18452AZ-0327?pId=17357386; ‘Lenox MacBean Yates,’ Baptisms, Hampshire Bishop’s Transcripts, Church of England, 1791, Lancashire Record and Hampshire Records Office, CHU 42/1A/3, FamilySearch Online Database, https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QLY4-VKJN; Bussell family papers, letter, from Vice-Admiral Pickmore to William Marchant Bussell, 18 October 1819, SLWA, 3901A/11; Fairbairn papers, genealogy, undated, SLWA, acc. no. 9301A/1393.

[9] ‘Thomas Legal Yates the elder,’ LBS, University College London, https://www.ucl.ac.uk/lbs/person/view/2146664499; Thomas Legall Yates of Brockhurst,’ LBS, University College London, https://www.ucl.ac.uk/lbs/person/view/1318320185; ‘Ambrose Nicholas Yates,’ LBS, University College London, https://www.ucl.ac.uk/lbs/person/view/16552. He may have been the Thomas Legal Yates, magistrate, who was elected to the Jamaican House of Assembly, representing the parish of Port Royal, from 1817 to at least 1824. See Assistant Judges and Magistrates, Parish of Port Royal, 1817 Jamaica Almanac, Surrey, Jamaican Family Search Online Database, http://www.jamaicanfamilysearch.com/Members/a/AL1817_03.htm; House of Assembly, Port Royal, 1817 Jamaica Almanac, Civil Lists, Jamaican Family Search Online Database, http://www.jamaicanfamilysearch.com/Members/a/AL1817_01.htm; Assistant Judges and Magistrates, Parish of Port Royal, 1824 Jamaica Almanac, Civil Lists, Surrey, Jamaican Family Search Online Database, http://www.jamaicanfamilysearch.com/Members/1/1824alm7.htm. Interestingly, this Thomas Legal Yates was residing in a different parish, despite representing Port Royal. See Assistant Judges and Magistrates, Parish of Port Royal, 1817 Jamaica Almanac, Surrey, Jamaican Family Search Online Database.

[10] Yates papers, letter, from Thomas Legal Yates to Mrs Mary Bowker of Stoke Road, 21 January 1824, SLWA, 3918A/9; Fairbairn papers, letter, from Robert Ballard Yates to John Bowker, 2 May 1836, SLWA, 9301A/1348; ‘John Bowker,’ Burials in the Parish of Greenwich, Non-Conformist and Non-Parochial Registers, 1847, NAUK, RG4/1675, Ancestry.com Online Database, https://www.ancestrylibrary.com.au/imageviewer/collections/2972/images/40612_B0148972-00127?pId=1049532.

[11] ‘John Bowker and Mary Beckford Yates,’ Marriages in the Parish of Devon, 1801, v.167/25a, FamilySearch Online Database, https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:939N-QNLV-M?i=306&cc=1804330. In the marriage register, John Bowker was described as a “lieutenant of his Majesty’s ship Prince George.” In his will, John left his estate (contents and value unspecified) to his daughter Frances Emily Cotton Bussell (nee Bowker). Frances Emily Cotton Bussell came by the name Bussell through her marriage to Thomas Arthur Bussell, the nephew of William Marchant Bussell, the husband of Frances Louisa Bussell. Will of John Bowker, NAUK, PROB 11/2064/198, https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/D127293. Frances’ sister Mary Beckford was not the only sibling to marry into slave ownership. Her other sister Emily Pakenham married Edward Rodon Huggins (1789-1842), who was awarded compensation for ownership of nineteen enslaved people across two claims in Saint Catherine, Jamaica. Emily took a direct role in managing the affairs of Edward’s slave and land ownership in Jamaica, writing in October 1835 that “I am desirous of transacting the business myself if possible.” Following the passing of her husband, Emily was awarded compensation for Edward’s property after petitioning the Commissioners. ‘Edward Rodon Huggins,’ LBS, University College London, https://www.ucl.ac.uk/lbs/person/view/18463; Fairbairn papers, letter, from Emily Pakenham Huggins to Alexander Sinclair, 5 October 1835, SLWA, 9301A/678; Nicholas Draper, The Price of Emancipation: Slave-ownership, compensation and British society at the end of slavery (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013), 214.

[12] Yates papers, letter, from Thomas Legal Yates to Mrs Mary Bowker of Stoke Road, 21 January 1824, SLWA, 3918A/9. The Demerara Rebellion of 1823 also galvanised the anti-slavery movement and hastened the end of slavery.

[13] Yates papers, letter, from Thomas Legal Yates to Mrs Mary Bowker of Stoke Road, 21 January 1824, SLWA, 3918A/9.

[14] ‘Jamaica Westmoreland 138,’ LBS, University College London, https://www.ucl.ac.uk/lbs/claim/view/24594; ‘Jamaica Westmoreland 139,’ LBS, University College London, https://www.ucl.ac.uk/lbs/claim/view/24595. A Mary Yates is also listed as an awardee for a claim in Bermuda. See ‘Bermuda 1110,’ LBS, University College London, https://www.ucl.ac.uk/lbs/claim/view/2120001109

[15] Fairbairn papers, letter, from Emily Pakenham Huggins to Alexander Sinclair, 5 October 1835, SLWA, 9301A/678.

[16] Fairbairn papers, letter, from Robert Ballard Yates to John Bowker, 2 May 1836, SLWA, 9301A/1348.

[17] Fairbairn papers, genealogy, undated, SLWA, 9301A/1393.

[18] 1808 Jamaica Almanac, Militia of Jamaica, Port Royal Regiment, Jamaican Family Search Online Database, http://www.jamaicanfamilysearch.com/Members/a/AL08militia2.htm

[19] 1817 Jamaica Almanac, Surrey Regiment of Foot, Port Royal Regiment, Jamaican Family Search Online Database, http://www.jamaicanfamilysearch.com/Members/a/AL1817_07.htm

[20] ‘Will of Edward Vernon Yates, Master and Commander in His Majesty’s Navy,’ NAUK, PROB 11/1362/99, https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/D983525; ‘Commander Edward Vernon Yates,’ Catalogue Description, item BHC2298, Royal Museums Greenwich, https://www.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/rmgc-object-13774. In 1754, Edward Vernon Yates was residing in Barbados, as Master of the Jason. See ‘Copy of letter from Edward Vernon Yates, Master of the Jason, Carlisle Bay, Barbados,’ NAUK, ADM 354/149/240, https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C10255961

[21] Bussell family papers, letter, Frances Louisa Bussell to Thomas Legall Yates, no date, SLWA, 3893A/29. Further evidence of Thomas Legal having resided in Jamaica until sometime after the 1810s may be implied from a letter written by his daughter Emily Pakenham Huggins in 1835, noting that “my fathers house,” in Port Royal was occupied by various tenants between 1822 and 1827. Fairbairn papers, letter, from Emily Pakenham Huggins to Alexander Sinclair, 5 October 1835, SLWA, 9301A/678.

[22] Cyrus Redding, Memoirs of William Beckford of Fonthill, Author of ‘Vathek’, vol. 1 (London: Charles J. Skeet Publishing, 1859): 14. https://ia601600.us.archive.org/32/items/bub_gb_SfNuGQAACAAJ/bub_gb_SfNuGQAACAAJ.pdf; Catherine Hall, ‘Gendering Property, Racing Capital,’ History Workshop Journal, 78, no. 1 (2014): 31. The other two families were the Palmers and the Ballards, the name of the latter indicating some relation to Frances.

[23] Baptised 28th July 1709 in St Catherine, Jamaica, and died in Jamaica in 1760. John Nicholl, Some Account of the Worshipful Company of Ironmongers (London: John Bowyer Nichols and Son Publishing, 1851), 582; William Musgrave, Obituary prior to 1800: As far as relates to England, Scotland, and Ireland (London: Harleian Society, 1899), 140.

[24] ‘List of Landholders in Jamaica,’ in Vere Langford Oliver, eds, Caribbeana: Registers of St. Thomas, Middle Island, St. Kitts (London: Mitchell, Hughes and Clarke Publishing, 1910), 95. https://www.dloc.com/UF00075409/00004/images/134;

‘Ballard Beckford I,’ LBS, University College London, https://www.ucl.ac.uk/lbs/person/view/2146649441

[25] ‘White Hall Estate,’ LBS, University College London, https://www.ucl.ac.uk/lbs/estate/view/2531; ‘Beckford, Ballard,’ catalogue description, National Library of Jamaica, https://nljdigital.nlj.gov.jm/items/show/2815#?c=0&m=0&s=0&cv=0&xywh=-44%2C0%2C573%2C584. There is some confusion around whether this refers to Ballard Beckford I or II, as both are recorded as deceased by 1766. In 1775, White Hall had passed into the ownership of Mary Ballard Beckford Johnstone, who was a daughter of one of the Ballard Beckfords (though which remains unclear). ‘White Hall Estate,’ LBS, University College London.

[26] James Robertson, “Eighteenth-Century Jamaica’s Ambivalent Cosmopolitanism,” Journal of the History Historical Association, 99, no. 337 (2014): 614.

[27] ‘Ballard Beckford,’ Baptisms in the parish of Westminster, Church of England, 1732, City of Westminster Archives Centre, STA/PR/1/2, Ancestry.com Online Database, https://www.ancestrylibrary.com.au/imageviewer/collections/61865/images/61865_314054001181_17891-00063?pId=590121

[28] ‘Ballard Beckford II,’ LBS, University College London, https://www.ucl.ac.uk/lbs/person/view/2146649443; ‘Ballard Beckford I,’ LBS, University College London, https://www.ucl.ac.uk/lbs/person/view/2146649441; ‘The Jamaica Portrait Gallery,’ Journal of the Institute of Jamaica, vol. 2, 1897, Digital Library of the Caribbean, https://www.dloc.com/UF00024651/00006/images, 492. Note: there is some confusion between Ballard Beckford (1732-1764) and Ballard Beckford (1709-1760). Referring to the only probate record extant for (likely) Ballard Beckford I, the LBS notes that “presumably Ballard Beckford II would have inherited from his father” the value of his estate which was probated in 1766 “by this point,” though “without a probate record for Ballard Beckford I at an earlier date this must be the record for Ballard Beckford I and the source of some confusion in the death dates between the two. In any case, the White Hall estate had passed out of Frances Louisa’s direct lineage by 1775, when it became the property Mary Ballard Beckford Johnstone (this may be Frances Louisa’s mother Mary Beckford).

[29] ‘The Jamaica Portrait Gallery,’ Journal of the Institute of Jamaica, vol. 2, 1897, Digital Library of the Caribbean, https://www.dloc.com/UF00024651/00006/images, 492.

[30] ‘The Jamaica Portrait Gallery,’ 492; Journals of the Board of Trade and Plantations, vol. 77 (1770): 'Journal, February 1770: Volume 77', in Journals of the Board of Trade and Plantations: Volume 13, January 1768 - December 1775 (London, 1937), 166-174, British History Online Database, http://www.british-history.ac.uk/jrnl-trade-plantations/vol13/pp166-174

[31] ‘The Jamaica Portrait Gallery,’ Journal of the Institute of Jamaica, vol. 2, 1897, Digital Library of the Caribbean, https://www.dloc.com/UF00024651/00006/images , 492.

[32] Fairbairn Papers, letter, Robert Ballard Yates to John Bowker and Mary Beckford Bowker, 2 May 1836, SLWA, 9301A/1348.

[33] ‘William Marchant Bussell and Frances Louisa Yates,’ Marriages in the Parish of Portsea, Hampshire, Church of England, 1802, in Hampshire Allegations for Marriage Licenses, vol. 1 (London: The Harleian Society: 1892), Ancestry.com Online Database, https://www.ancestrylibrary.com.au/discoveryui-content/view/203355:9147?tid=&pid=&queryId=02582faa72a36c84faf8898dc2d80e44&_phsrc=Gnd316&_phstart=successSource. In the record, William’s middle name appears as Merchant, not Marchant, and Frances’ middle name as Louise, not Louisa.

[34] William Marchant was baptised on the 8th June 1767 in Taunton, St Mary, Somerset, England. ‘William Bussell,’ Taunton Register of Baptisms, Church of England, Somerset Parish Records, 1538-1914, D/P/tau.m/2/1/2, Ancestry.com Online Database, https://search.ancestrylibrary.com.au/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv=1&dbid=60856&h=3398516&tid=&pid=&queryId=c641051c840b6c17719473313af948d5&usePUB=true&_phsrc=Gnd312&_phstart=successSource; Will of John Bussell, Gentleman of Saint Thomas the Apostle, Devon, 1833, NAUK, PROB 11/1818/267, https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/D250708.

[35] Fairbairn Papers, Certificate of Marriage, Joseph Bussell and Mary Garrett, 11 October 1859, SLWA, 9301A/231.

[36] ‘Bussell, William Marchant,’ in Joseph Foster, Alumni Oxonienses: The Members of the University of Oxford, 1715-1886 and Alumni Oxonienses: The Members of the University of Oxford, 1500-1714 (Oxford: Parker and Company, 1888-1892); Edward Shann, Cattle Chosen: The Story of the First Group Settlements in Western Australia 1829 to 1841 (Crawley: University of Western Australia Press, 1978 [1926]): 1.

[37] Bussell family papers, letter, Frances Louisa Bussell to Mary Yates, 1802, SLWA, 3893A/1. This letter is addressed to Mary Yates at Droxford, England.

[38] Fairbairn papers, genealogy, undated, SLWA, 9301A/1393; State Records Office of Western Australia (SROWA), Colonial Secretary’s Correspondence (CSO), Inwards Correspondence, 9 May 1830, series 2941, cons36, vol. 6, folio 171.

[39] Fairbairn papers, genealogy, undated, SLWA, 9301A/1393. One source reports that the only property the family held after Williams’ death was “a field at Kingsford,” though William’s will has not been traced. See Shann, Cattle Chosen, 2. See also a letter to her sister Mary Bowker, where she described being close to “pennyless if I paid the other two [bills].” SROWA, CSO, 9 May 1830, series 2941, cons36, vol. 6, folio 171.

[40] ‘Robert Ballard Yates,’ Register of Baptisms, 1783, Church of England, Parish of Kingston, Jamaica, B0085, BMB I & II, FamilySearch Online Database, https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:939N-VM9C-59?cc=1827268&wc=M6GL-T3D%3A161381801%2C161381802; ‘Robert Ballard Yates,’ Register of Deaths in Alverstoke, Hampshire, 1863, England and Wales Death Registration Index, FamilySearch Online Database, https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:J847-2YQ.

[41] ‘Robert Ballard Yates,’ Register of Baptisms, 1783, Church of England, Parish of Kingston, Jamaica, B0085, BMB I & II, FamilySearch Online Database, https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:939N-VM9C-59?cc=1827268&wc=M6GL-T3D%3A161381801%2C161381802; ‘Ambrose-Nicholas Yates and Frances Beckford,’ Marriage, 1784, Hampshire Allegations for Marriages Licences, vol. 2, 1596260, Ancestry.com Online Database, https://www.ancestrylibrary.com.au/discoveryui-content/view/13740182:9852?ssrc=pt&tid=160933783&pid=292440950401

[42] Will of Edward Vernon Yates, Master and Commander in His Majesty’s Navy, NAUK, PROB 11/1362/99; Fairbairn papers, genealogy, undated, SLWA, 9301A/1393.

[43] Yates papers, note written by Frances Emily Cotton Bowker, ‘An account of the life of Robert Ballard Yates,’ no date, SLWA, 3918A/52.

[44] ‘Robert Ballard Yates,’ LBS, University College London, https://www.ucl.ac.uk/lbs/person/view/2146664501; ‘Exeter Estate,’ LBS, University College London, https://www.ucl.ac.uk/lbs/estate/view/23021. See also ‘Robert Ballard Yates, Esq,’ in John Marshall, Royal Navy Biography, vol. 4 (London: Longman Publishing, 1830). Robert Ballard’s financial situation deteriorated between the 1830s and 1860s, and he was forced to apply for financial aid to support himself, his wife and eleven children. See Yates papers, note written by Frances Emily Cotton Bowker, ‘An account of the life of Robert Ballard Yates,’ no date, SLWA, 3918A/52.

[45] Shann, Cattle Chosen, 2.

[46] SROWA, CSO, 1 April 1833, series 2941, cons36, volume 27, folios 3-4.

[47] SROWA, CRO, 1 April 1833, series 2941, cons36, vol. 27, folios 3-4; SROWA, CSO, 9 May 1830, series 2941, cons36, vol. 6, folio 171; Warrior passenger list, SROWA, series 2941, cons36, vol. 6, folios 2-3, Western Australia Passenger Arrivals and Departures – Swan River Colony 1826-1838, produced by Graham Brown for the Swan River Pioneers Special Interest Group of the Western Australian Genealogical Society, Family History WA Online Database, http://data.fhwa.org.au/component/content/article/72-members/358-swan-river-colony-arrivals-and-departures-1829-1838. They were also accompanied by Edward Pearce, a fourteen-year-old servant. See SROWA, CSO, 9 May 1830, series 2941, cons36, vol. 6, folio 171.

[48] SROWA, CSO, 25 May 1830, series 2941, cons36, vol. 6, folio 172.

[49] Cygnet passenger list, SROWA, series 2941, cons36, vol. 6, folios 2-3, Western Australia Passenger Arrivals and Departures – Swan River Colony 1826-1838, produced by Graham Brown for the Swan River Pioneers Special Interest Group of the Western Australian Genealogical Society, FHWA Online Database, http://data.fhwa.org.au/component/content/article/72-members/358-swan-river-colony-arrivals-and-departures-1829-1838

[50] James Pattison passenger list, SROWA, series 2941, cons36, vol. 6, folios 2-3, Western Australia Passenger Arrivals and Departures – Swan River Colony 1826-1838, produced by Graham Brown for the Swan River Pioneers Special Interest Group of the Western Australian Genealogical Society, FHWA Online Database, http://data.fhwa.org.au/component/content/article/72-members/358-swan-river-colony-arrivals-and-departures-1829-1838

[51] Bussell family papers, letter, Frances Louisa Bussell to John Garrett Bussell, 16 December 1829, SLWA, 3893A/10. In a later letter, Frances wrote feeling “restless” and “unsettled” in her children’s absence at Swan River, affectionately referring to them as her “precious voyagers.” See Bussell family papers, letter, Frances Louisa Bussell to Bussells, November 1832, SLWA, 3893A/18.

[52] Bussell family papers, letter, Frances Louisa Bussell to Emily Huggins, 19 October 1834, SLWA, 337A/313-1; Bussell family papers, letter, Frances Louisa Bussell to Elizabeth Capel Carter, 1835, SLWA, 337A/314-3. The Bussells had endured significant misfortunes since arriving in the new colony, having initially set up at Cape Leeuwin, Augusta, then relocating to Adelphi by December 1831, and finally to what would become Busselton. Bussell family papers, letter, Frances Louisa Bussell to Elizabeth Capel Carter, 27 August 1834, SLWA, 337A/310 and Bussell family papers, letter, Frances Louisa Bussell to Emily Huggins, 19 October 1834, SLWA, 337A/313; SROWA, CSO, 8 October 1833, series 2941, cons36, vol. 29, folio 33.

[53] Frances Louisa Bussell diaries, 23 January 1835 – December 1835, SLWA, 6926A/7; Frances Louisa Bussell diaries, 7 February 1836 - 22 March 1836, SLWA, 6926A/8; Shann, Cattle Chosen, 65-66.

[54] Shann, Cattle Chosen, 137.

[55]‘St. Mary’s Church,’ The South-Western News, 6 December 1929. Inquirer, 13 March 1844; ‘Saint Mary’s Anglican Church and Graveyard,’ Register of Heritage Places Assessment Documentation, Heritage Council of Western Australia, http://inherit.stateheritage.wa.gov.au/Admin/api/file/9cc9bf73-6da4-9643-aa83-f04ad76a29c0, 3. Saint Mary’s was named after the church bearing the same name in Portsea, England, in a legacy to Reverend William Marchant’s curateship.

[56] ‘Died,’ The Inquirer, 9 July 1845.

[57] ‘Saint Mary’s Anglican Church and Graveyard,’ Register of Heritage Places Assessment Documentation, Heritage Council of Western Australia, http://inherit.stateheritage.wa.gov.au/Admin/api/file/9cc9bf73-6da4-9643-aa83-f04ad76a29c0, 5; ‘St. Mary’s Church,’ The South-Western News, 6 December 1929.

Original Publication

Citation details

Jane Lydon and Xavier Reader, 'Bussell, Frances Louisa (1782–1845)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, https://peopleaustralia.anu.edu.au/biography/bussell-frances-louisa-33742/text42236, accessed 24 May 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Yates, Frances Louisa
Birth

1782
England

Death

26 June, 1845 (aged ~ 63)
Busselton, Western Australia, Australia

Cause of Death

unknown

Cultural Heritage

Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.

Religious Influence

Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.

Passenger Ship
Key Places