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William Prentice of Tasmania

William Prentice of Woolwich, England, and Hobart, Tasmania
By Linus Joseph Dewald Jr., Editor
Fall 2000 and Revised: 11 Jan 2011

Note: This article supersedes and replaces the Fall 2000 article on Henry Charles Prentice of Australia .

We are helping Wendy Bunter, Brett Prentice and Gloria Prentice in efforts to identify their Prentice roots. With the invaluable and appreciated help of Richard Cato we know quite a bit about William Prentice from Tasmanian Archives (Ref: 82/312), copies of which Richard Cato received with other Prentis family papers. William Prentice's family tree is set out below:

A. (William?) Prentice b. c. 1790 and d. c. 1813, Woolwich, London, England per Ancestry.com .

He m. Jean Paterson, b. c. 1790, Banffshire Co., Scotland, and d. 1822, Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Scotland. She was the dau. of George Paterson and Jannet/Janet Wiseman. They had 1 or more children, including:

  1. William Prentice, b. c. 1814. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . [1]

1. William Prentice was b. c. 1814 in (Woolwich, London, England?), and d. 10 Apr 1891, Kingower, Victoria, Australia per Ancestry.com .

We do not know exactly where he was born, but in Tasmanian Archives his "Native Place" is identified as Woolwich and the only Woolwich we have found so far is in England a bit east of London. Below is a reference to his being in "Aberdeen" and the only Aberdeen we have been able to locate is in Scotland. So, was he born in Woolwich and did he later move to the Aberdeen area? By land it would have been a long journey, but by sea it would have been a relatively easy voyage. His employment in 1828, mentioned below, may shed some light on the question.

In 1828, at the age of 14, he was described as follows:

     Height: 5’ ½" 
     Hair: light brown, 
     Eyes: hazel, 
     Marks: W.P. inside right arm

From the records we know something of his youth. He was imprisoned in England once for "miscalling the Postmaster at Aberdeen - Mr Patterson (i.e. name-calling). His last employment in 1828 was in the William Mars Ropewalk (see Fn. 1). He was later arrested for "housebreaking," tried at "Aberdeen Court of Justiciary" (See Fn. 2) on 15 Apr 1828 and sentenced to 14 years transportation to Tasmania for housebreaking. His prosecutor was Provost Robinson. After his arrival in Tasmania, records indicate he was unable to keep out of trouble and was punished for various offenses as follows:

  • Date of Offense: 19 Feb 1830
  • Place of employment: Wright
  • Offense: Neglect of duty and disobedience of orders on 18 Feb 1830
  • Punishment: 12 lashes and retu4rned to his service
  • Magistrate's initials: P.S.

  • Date of Offense: 4 Mar 1830
  • Place of Employment: Wright
  • Offense: Stealing peaches the property of his master
  • Punishment: Treadwheel 2 days and returned to his service.
  • Magistrate's initials: P.S.

    Note: The following about the treadwheel is found at http://www.ihrinfo.ac.uk/ihr/reviews/prison.html: "Administrators believed that the mere denial of freedom was not punishment enough and thought up various ways of intensifying the pains of imprisonment. Their industriousness made the hand crank and the treadwheel common features in prisons of the second half of the 19th century.

    The [treadwheel] was an especially cruel device, constructed of a series of steps on a huge wheel which was to be turned around by the prisoner's climbing motion. Not only was the work physically exhausting, but it was also mentally gruelling for the prisoners as it produced absolutely nothing. The only justification of this, in McConville's words "scarcely veiled torture" (p.147), was to punish the prisoners.

    A medical and scientific committee was set up in the 1860s to determine the amount of labour that could be expected from the prisoners, and after rational deliberation the experts concluded that prisoners sentenced to hard labour were to ascend 8,640 feet per day."

  • Date of Offense: 30 Jun 1830
  • Place of Employment: Captain Clover
  • Offense: Neglect of duty and disobedience of orders, particularly yesterday
  • Punishment: 12 lashes and returned to his service.
  • Magistrate's initials: J. Gordon

  • Date of Offense: 13 Dec 1830
  • Place of Employment: Clover
  • Offense: Neglect of duty repeatedly
  • Punishment: 25 lashes (suspended)
  • Magistrate's initials: J.H.B. & H. Nicholls

  • Date of Offense: 15 Feb 1831
  • Place of Employment: Clover
  • Offense: Disobedience of orders and neglect of duty generally, but particularly within the last 10 days.
  • Punishment: Treadwheel 10 days and returned to his master
  • Magistrate's initials: J. Gordon, J.S. & H.N.

  • Date of Offense: 2 Aug 1831
  • Place of Employment: W. H. Glover
  • Offense: General idleness and neglect of duty, particularly on the 16th day of July
  • Punishment: Treadwheel 14 days and returned to Government.
  • Magistrate's initials: J. Cordon

  • Date of Offense: 14 Dec 1833
  • Place of Employment: Ball
  • Offense: Out after hours
  • Punishment: Admonished
  • Magistrate's initials: C.P.M.

  • Date of Offense: 31 Jul 1834
  • Place of Employment: Constable
  • Offense: Absent from his beat at 11 o"clock at night and found by the Chief Constable secreted in one of the Out houses in the rear of the Survey Office with refusing to admit that officer into the said Out house.
  • Punishment: Treadwheel 6 days, pay stopped during that time and to sleep in a cell at night.
  • Magistate's initials: C.P.M.

In Septemger, 1836, He received a Conditional Pardon and he apparently went to work for the Constable. However, his record continues as follows:

  • Date of Offense: 4 Dec 1837
  • Place of Employment: Constable
  • Offense: Misconduct
  • Punishment: Charge dismissed
  • Magistrate's initials: C.A.

  • Date of Offense: 14 Feb 1839
  • Place of Employment: Constable
  • Offense: Absent without leave
  • Punishment: Admonished
  • Magistrate's initials: W.A.

  • Date of Offense: 16 May 1839
  • Place of Employment: Constable
  • Offense: Drunkenness
  • Punishment: Admonished
  • Magistrate's initials: J.C.S.

On 6 Jan 1841, William Prentice received a "Free Certificate," which apparently ended his period of servitude.

On 8 Nov 1843, at the age of about 39, he m. Elizabeth Woodland, spinster, at St. David's Church of England. She was b. 1819 and was then 24. His occupation at that time was given as Sawyer; the record indicates he was able to write and that Elizabeth signed with a mark. (Con 31/34 & Con 23)((RGD558/1843).

Elizabeth Woodland had arrived in Hobart on the ship Boadicea on 4 Feb 1836. She was a general servant, then age 18 from Bristol and was accompanied by Mary Woodland (probably her sister), a housemaid, aged 19 also from Bristol. The Boadicea brought 216 free female emigrants to the colony. (GOl/24/p .133 CSO)

William Prentice d. in 1891in the Goldfields of Victoria and Elizabeth Woodland d. in 1903. Brett Pentice's email of 3 Jan 2010 provides the following additional information:

    ". . .William Prentice. . .passed away in the Goldfields of Victoria in 1891 (un-marked grave), so my wife and I set about finding the grave and erecting a nice sandstone headstone with plaque. Little did I realise the un-marked plot next to William is his daughter Celia. I will organise another headstone and plaque and get down there again. It's nice to pinpoint exactly where my heritage (starts or finishes)."

Children of William and Elizabeth:

  1. Celia Philis Prentice, b. 1836. She is buried next to her father (see above).
  2. Henry Charles Prentice, b. 1844. . . . . . . . . . . [2]
  3. William David Prentice, b. 1844. He m. 1st Mary Ann Murphy. He m. 2nd Elizabeth Bowe, b. 1861. In 1916 they lived at 71, Darby St., Newcastle, New South Wales. Children:
    1. Eliza Jane Prentice, b. 1876
    2. Emily Prentice, b. 1876

    3. George Henry Prentice, b. 1885 died WW1. WW I military death records identify him as a Private, Sustralian Infantry, A.I.F., 5th Bn., who d. at age 32 on 7 Jun 1918, son of William David and Elizabeth E. Prentice. Native of Bendigo, Victoria, Australia. His memorial is at II. B. 5., Borre British Cemetery. Borre is a village in France which is 3 kilometres east of Hazebrouck on the N42. On reaching the village, turn right just before the church on the road signposted Sec Bois. The cemetery is 500 metres from the junction on the right hand side. The cemetery was used from May to September 1918 by field ambulances and fighting Units, particularly those of the 1st Australian Division, during the interval between the German and Allied offensives of that year. The cemetery now contains 367 Commonwealth burials of the First World War and three German war graves. There are also five burials of the Second World War. The cemetery was designed by Sir Herbert Baker.

    4. Albert Charles Prentice, b. 1887, Bendigo, Victoria and died WW1. War records identify him as a Private, Australian Infantry, A.I.F., 50th Bn.. He was age 28 when he died 16 Aug 1916. Buried Villers-Bretonneux Memorial. For a possible marriage, see #3, Charles Albert Prentice.

    5. Margaret Louisa Prentice, b. 1889
    6. Eva Prentice, b. 14 Dec 1893, Bendigo, Victoria, and d. there 15 Jul 1993.
    7. Eva Prentice, b. 1894. She m. William George Speechley in 1912 in Bendigo. He was b. 23 Feb 1891, Bendigo, and d. there on 11 Dec 1970. He was the son of John Russell Speechleyand Elizabeth Ann Lowe. An Ancestor chart for him can be found at Ancestry.com . Children:
      1. William Russell Speechley, b. 1912 in Bendigo, Victoria, Australia, and d. 11 Mar 1937, Swan Hill, Victoria.
      2. Doris Speechley, b. 16 Jun 1914 in Bendigo, Victoria, Australia. She m. 1st William Gilbert. She m. 2nd Alan Johnstone Thompson.
      3. Esma Irene Speechley. She m. 1st Kenneth Arthur. She m. 2nd James Leslie Baum.
      4. Thomas George Speechley, b. 8 Mar 1922 in Bendigo, Victoria, Australia. Served in Army. He m. Mary Patricia Jones.
      5. Iris May Speechley. She m. 1st Francis Paul Quilty and had a son, Raymond Francis Quilty. She m. 2nd Albert Robert Howden.
      6. Peggy Speechley. She m. Leslie Frederick Gerring.
      7. Lorna Speechley, b. 21 Jan 1928 in Wonthaggi, Victoria, Australia, and d. 22 Dec 1963, Yarraville, Melbourne, Victoria. She m. Parkin Thomas Krygger.
      8. Roy James Speechley, b. 12 Apr 1933 in Wonthaggi, Victoria, Australia, and d. 27 Jul 1977 in Sea Lake, Victoria. Any marriage is unknown.
    8. John James Bowe Prentice, b. 1895
    9. Clarence Prentice, b. 1897
    10. Doris Petoria Prentice, b. 1900
    11. Thomas David Prentice, b. 1903
  4. Mary Ann Prentice, b. 1850.
  5. Emily Jane Prentice, b. 1858. She m. James Montgomery.
  6. Janet Prentice, b. 1860. She m. Alfred Goudge.

2. Henry Charles Prentice, b. born in 1844 or 1846 in Hobart (per Gloria Prentice, email, 18 Nov 2005).

Henry m. 1st Margaret Alice Bowe in 1876 in Kingower. Presently known children:

  1. George Henry Prentice, b. 1877. He m. 1st Annie Rose in 1900 (per Lawrence (Laurie) Prentice, email, 12 Sep 2005). She was b: 1880 in Rushworth, Victoria, Australia. An Ancestor Chart for her can be found at Ancestry.com . Known children (per Ancestry.com ):

    1. Henry George Prentice, b. 12 Jul 1900, Bendigo, Victoria, and d. 4 Oct 1960, Horsham, Victoria. He m. Alma Christina Schultz on 18 Apr 1933, Murtoa, Victoria per Ancestry.com .
    2. Walter Clifford Prentice, b. 1901 and d. 1964. He m. Ethel Hannaford in 1928. She d. 1933. Children:
      1. Barbara Evelyn Prentice, b. 30 Dec 1928. She m. Ormison "Bill" Kirkwood. Children (ref: Katharine Dal Santo, email, 13 Jan 2010):
        1. Lynne Christine Kirkwood, b. 29 Jul 1956. She m. Ian McHutchison in 1989,
        2. Colene Anne Kirkwood b. 11 Nov 1958. She m. Peter Dal Santo in 1983. Children:
          1. Katherine Dal Santo, b. 17 Mar 1989.
          2. Julia Dal Santo, b. 25 Mar 1993.
        3. Pauline Helen Kirkwood, b. 16 Feb 1961.
      2. Gladys Mary Prentice, b. 1930. She m. Gordon Cupper.
      3. Lawrence (Laurie) John Prentice, b. 1932. As of 2005, he has been retired after spending over 40 years in the Office Equipment Industry as a Technical Representative. He m. Judith Ann Avery in 1959. Children:
        1. Michele Jane Prentice, b 1960.
        2. Andrew John Prentice, b 1963. He m. Kym Morrissy in 1997. They have 3 daughers.
        3. Jennifer Mary Prentice, b. 1964. She m. John Petersen in 1984. They have 2 sons and a daughter.
    3. Irene Prentice b 1903 and d. 1943.
    4. Dorothy Irene Prentice b: 18 Apr 1906 in Rushworth, Victoria, Australia, and d. 3 Nov 1949, Cheltenham, Victoria, Australia. Said to have m. on 3 Mar 1928, but the name of her husband is not yet known (per Ancestry.com .

    George Henry Prentice m. 2nd Mae Davis (nee Welch) before 1917 and who d. 1920 (per Gloria Prentice's email of 18 Nov 2005 which also indicates that there "several half brothers and sisters from [George's] first union"). Children of George Henry Prentice and Mae Davis (nee Welch)

    1. Gordon William Prentice, b. 1917, Melbourne, Australia. By email of 19 Nov 2005, Gloria Prentice says that he is the son of George Henry Prentice and his 2nd wife, Mae Davis (nee Welch) who d. 1920. After his mother's death in 1920, he went to live with an uncle in Rushworth. He married and had 1 or more children, including:
      1. Gloria Prentice, per her email, 17 Nov 2005).
    2. Phyllis Prentice.
    3. Albert Prentice. After his mother's death in 1920, Albert was adopted by another family.

  2. Catherine/Kate Prentice, b. 1878
  3. William John Prentice, b. 1881
    1. Kathleen May Prentice, b. 1912
    2. Eileen Allison Prentice, b. 1913
    3. Joyce Edith Prentice, b. 1916
    4. Betty Linnette Prentice, b. 1917
  4. Amelia Prentice b. 1882, Victoria Australia, and d. 1962.
  5. Louisa Cecelia/Celia Prentice, b. 1885, Inglewood, Victoria, Australia, and d. August 1956, Northcote, Victoria, Austalia. She m. Norman Robert Fraser. He was b. 1881 in Caramut, Victoria Australia, and d. 25 Dec 1923, Helen St. Northcote, Australia. On her marriage certificate to Norman, Louisa stated she was a Ladies Companion at Rushworth in Victoria (per Marianne McKenna, email, 13 Sep 2008). An Ancestor Chart for him can be found at Ancestry.com . Children per Ancestry.com .
    1. (son) Fraser.
    2. (son) Fraser.
    3. Alice Mary Fraser 1911 – 1955
    4. Joyce Lillian Fraser 1920 – 2000
  6. Charles Albert Prentice, b. 1887. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . [3]
  7. Cornelius Woodland Prentice, b. 1889, Rushmore, Victoria, Australia.
    1. Alice Olwen Prentice, b. 1913
    2. Ivy Jean Prentice, b. 1914
    3. Cornelis Ernest Raymond Prentice, b. 1917
    4. Dorothy Elizabeth Prentice, b. 1920
  8. Ernest Gordon Prentice, b. 1891, survived WW1
  9. Raymond Franics Prentice, b. 1895

3. Charles Albert Prentice, b. in 1887, Rushworth/Bendigo, Victoria Australia. He died in 1952 in Rushworth.

Albert m. Mary Jane Whiteside in 1908 in Bendigo. They had at least 1 son:

  1. Ivy Edna Prentice, b. 1908
  2. Albert William Prentice, b. 1910 in Bendigo. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . [4]

    Note: By email of 30 Dec 2007, Craig Plunkett advises that that Charles Albert Prentice did not marry Mary Jane Whiteside, that it was Albert Charles Prentice who m. her.

4. Albert William Prentice, b. 1910 in Bendigo, and d. 23Aug 1976, Bacchus Marsh.

He m. Mary Berenice Frances Scholes. She was b. 1913. They may have lived in Frankston, Victoria. Children:

  1. Robert Albert Prentice, b. c. 1936. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . [5]
  2. Barry Gordon Prentice. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .[6]

5. Robert Albert Prentice, b. c. 1936. He was an ambulance officer at the time and was stationed at Orbost; they also used their garage as a makeshift morgue. He m. in 1959 Nanette Wise b. 1938.

  1. Kevin Ian Prentice, b. 1959
    1. Kelly Lee Prentice, b. 1994
    2. Emily Nicole Prentice, b. 1997
  2. Brett Prentice, b. 1961 in Orbost, Victoria. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . [7]
  3. Mark Casey Prentice, b. 1962
    1. Sidonie Casey Prentice, b. 1996

6. Barry Gordon Prentice was b. 12 Mar 1940 in Melbourne, and lives with his wife in Cape Schanck, Victoria, Australia (per Ted Coultas, email 3 May 2005). His occupations have been truck triver and bank teller.

He m. Dorothy May McMaster on 31 Jan 1965. ,She was b. c. 1940-42 and is the daughter of William John McMaster (b. 1909) and Isabel May McLeod and granddaughter of William John McMaster (b. 30 Jul 1867 in Muskvale near Daylesford, Victoria, Australia) and Mary Anne Lawrence (b. 1871 in Korumburra, Victoria, Australia. An Ancestor Chart for them can be found at Ancestry.com . Children:

  1. Anthony John Prentice, b. 16 Jul 1965, Melbourne. He is a plumber. He m. Laurel Doig and had:
    1. Angus James Prentice, b. 17 Jun 1999,Rosebud.
    He m. 2nd Tara Karen Maree Curren on 24 May in Flinders, Victoria. Daughter:
    1. Isobella Jo Prentice, b. 9 Aug 2002, Rosebud.
  2. Narelle Maylene Prentice, b. 1 Oct 1973, Melbourne. She was a Child Care Worker. She m. Paul Andrew Hollway, a Cabinet Maker, on 22 Nov 1992, Sorrento, Victoria. Children:
    1. Jac Bruce Hollway, b. 6 Aug 1996.
    2. Brierly Mae Hollway, b. 13 Jun 1999, Rosebud.
  3. Michael William Prentice, b. 1 Sep 1976, Melbourne. A Plumber he married Jacqueline Maree Mountford on 22 Feb 2003 in Dromana. Children:
    1. Jac Bruce Hollway, b. 6 Aug 1996.
    2. Tayla Mai Prentice, b. 12 May 1999, Rosebud.
    3. Jett Michael Prentice, b. 4 Jan 2002, Frankston.

7. Brett Prentice, b. 1961 in Orbost, Victoria. His father left when Brett was 3 and Brett was reared by his mother. He m. in 1985 Amanda McDonald who was b. 1961. Children:

  1. Kylie Nanette Prentice, b. 1986.
  2. Caitlin Amanda Prentice, b. 1991.
  3. Maddison Shae Prentice, b. 1994.
  4. Ryan William Ian Casey Prentice, b. 1999

Brett also has information about his other kin. His wife's great-great-grandfather, Norman Hume McDonald, emigrated to Australia from Isle of Skye in 1854. They moved to Maryborough with his wife and daughter in 1854 and remained until 1861 before moving to Clydesdale to try his hand at farming. His children were born in Amherst, Daisy Hill, Friars Creek and Maryborough. His wife's name is Johan McKenzie Munro, sister of Victoria's Premier in 1890-92.

Who is William's Father?

By email of 29 Jul 2001, Brett Prentice has supplied the following information:

    "William Prentice was born around 1812-1814 in Woolwich, which we presume is the one located in London. His Trail documents state his mother was Jean Paterson, daughter of George Paterson, Gardner of Banff, and father is un-named. William's father appears to have been a soldier in the Train of Artillery and once again as the reference to Woolwich is made, and the large Artillery is based at Woolwich I feel so far we're on the right track.

    "William's father was killed when William was around one. Don't know anything about his death or where it happened. This is the only reference made in the Trial documents. Some say he may have been killed in the Napoleonic Wars. I have found a William Prentice who was in the Glengarry Light Infantry in 1812 who fought in the War of 1812 but this may be a dead-end as this William may be Canadian. I am guessing William's father's name was also William.

    "Jean Paterson took William back to Banff, Scotland after the death of her husband/defacto and left him with her father George Paterson and Jannet Wiseman. Jean left and appears ended up in Edinburgh where she died one year prior to William's conviction in 1827.

    "William was transported to Australia in 1828 after receiving a 14 year sentence for housebreaking and theft.

    "I do not know if he had any siblings and cannot find any reference to Jean Paterson on LDS site.

    "William moved to the State of Victoria and headed to the goldfields. His family stayed there and are probably still there today. Albert Charles Prentice (there are two of them 1st cousins) my great grandfather was killed in WW1 at the Battle of the Somme. His brother George Henry (there are two of them 1st cousins) was also killed in WW1 with a third brother James being severely wounded at Gallipoli and returning home."

If you have any information about the folks mentioned in this article, please contact us at dewald@prenticenet.com.

Fn. 1: For an illustration of a Ropewalk, see Ropewalk .

Fn. 2: Briefly, The High Court of Justiciary is the supreme criminal court in Scotland and it is both a trial court and a court of appeals. There is no appeal from it to the House of lords. The judges are the same as those in the Court of Session but wear different robes and the Lord President as head of the High Court is called 'Lord Justice-General'. As a trial court, it sits in Edinburgh but also travels to different parts of Scotland, e.g. Glasgow, Stirling, Oban, Aberdeen, Inverness, Dundee, Perth, etc., whereas as an appeal court, it only sits in Parliament House in Edinburgh.

The High Court has jurisdiction over all Scotland, and covers all types of crime not specifically reserved to another court. Its exclusive jurisdiction covers all major crimes (treason, murder, rape, incest, piracy, offenses under the Official Secters Act, breach of duty by magistrates, and obstruction of officers of the court). Normally only one judge sits at a trial, but in cases of importance or difficulty two or more can sit, and there is always a jury.

Fn. 3: Ted Coultas provides a bit of interesting information about his own roots and his connection with Barry Prentice:

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Brett Prentice
2016-10-22 17:56:15
Have not seen any documented evidence that William Prentice's father was William Prentice. Based on documents provided by National Archives Scotland, William Prentice was 14yo at the time of his trial in 1828. He is shown as 29yo when married in 1843. Some are stating death of his William? Prentice father was 1813, well before his birth. Although originally shown as birth c.1812 for William Prentice, this has been modified to 1814. I would not be listing his father as William Prentice until such proof has been provided, at this stage his father remains unknown although a lead is currently being followed for a soldier in the Royal Artillery that may not have died as stated in the trial documents. The court documents are clear that William's father died when William was 12 months old.
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