Thomas Darby

#609, (circa May 1816-4 June 1907)
FatherGeorge Darby (c 1779-4 Mar 1853)
MotherElizabeth Aylott (c 1777-Jan 1821)

Short Biography

     Thomas was born in Hertford about 1816, the son of Elizabeth and George Darby (a builder and brickmaker).

His mother died when we was about 5 years old, leaving his father to raise him and his nine surviving siblings.

At the age of about 18 he was indentured to his father as an apprentice carpenter and builder, but only remained with him for less than five years before he decided to emigrate to the colony of South Australia with three of his siblings and their families.

His brother John and he took up farming together in Morphett Vale, and together held at least 570 acres. he was to remain a farmer for the rest of his life.

He and his brother married within a week of each other in 1848, he to a Scottish Baptist named Jessie who at 22 was 10 years his junior. Over a sixteen year period, he and Jessie were to have eight children.

He went through a difficult time in the early 1850s - three of his brothers died in South Australia, one of whom was his brother John.

In 1875 he and his family moved to Minlacowie,where they were to see out their days farming wheat and grazing sheep. At least of his children married, many at his house.

He died in 1907 at the age of ninety one - about the same age as his great-grandfather who died when he was five. He was the last of his siblings to die; all of his brothers had died more than 50 years prior.
     NOTE: The information on this page is my research to date and is subject to change as I become better informed. I very much welcome any corrections or additional info you might have - my email address is at the bottom of this page - Tim Hill.
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(For a brief history and context on the Darby family see this page)

Thomas was born circa May 1816 at Hertford. He was the son of George Darby and Elizabeth Aylott. The city of Hertford dates back to at least 673, and was an important market town surrounded by agricultural land. From the late 16th century, it had access to the London corn markets via the River Lea.

He was baptised at Lady Huntingdon's Connexion on Sunday, 8 December 1816 at Hertford.1 Lady Huntingdon's Chapel was one a series of chapels founded in the 18th century by the Countess of Huntingdon's Connexion as part of a Calvinistic movement within the Methodist church. She insisted that they should all subscribe to the doctrines of the Church of England and use only the Book of Common Prayer. It was apparently founded in 1800, and started keeping registers from 1806.



His mother died circa January 1821. He was about 5 when this happened.2

Thomas Darby was indentured to George Darby as an apprentice carpenter and builder for 7 years on 6 June 1834. George took on another of his sons, Samuel, as an apprentice millwright on the same day.3 Thomas Darby made an application for free passage to South Australia. He made the application at the same time as his brother John and his wife and their sister Ann and her husband Joseph Peck on 1 March 1839.4 He was a carpenter, and perhaps still working for his father up until the time he emmigrated on 1 March 1839.5,6 Bengeo is a parish and village just north of Hertford; the village was gradually incorporated into the larger town. The part that ajoins Hertford is lower, rising to agricultural land to the north. The chief crops were wheat, barley and turnips.78,9



Thomas emmigrated with Thomas' brotherJohn, his sister and her husband Joseph Peck, and his sister Martha and her husband John Speller Wright from London on 20 April 1839 on the 'Somersetshire.10' Thomas arrived at Port Adelaide, South Australia, on 25 August 1839.10



On his arrival, there were a little over 10,000 people in the colony.11

The family was mentioned in a letter from another South Australian immigrant. Describing something of their circumstances on 21 March 1840:
"On the 27th of August, I had the pleasure of seeing Thomas Darby, his brothers, and sisters, but they did not know me at the first sight, I looked so thin and bad ; but I told them I was well and hearty. They received me very kindly indeed, and I helpt them make their bed the first night in the colony; but to them it seemed a miracle that we should all meet here, after talking about it up at their father's house that night their chimney caught fire [perhaps the brickyard straw fire of 2 years previously]. They desire me to send their kind love to you all, likewise to their fathers and mothers, to their sisters and brothers, and to all inquiring friends and relations."


No doubt this letter was very eagerly received back home.12,13 On 10 February 1842 a Thomas Darby was committed for stealing a cow of 5 pounds value from William Batton. When the trial was heard the following month, he pleaded not guilty and was acquitted "with a warning to be careful of his conduct for the future. He had stated he knew he was doing wrong, and it was in consequence of so doing he had been brought into his present circumstances."14,15 He became a subscriber to the Vigneron and Gardeners Manual on 15 July 1843.16

Thomas Darby was called to jury service in a manslaughter case (where a doctor was accused of causing the death of a man by administering too much morphine) on 14 March 1845.17 He and John Darby made a declaration of 320 acres which was gazetted by the Commissioner of Crown Lands on 6 April 1847 at Noarlunga.18 Thomas Darby and John Darby made a declaration of 570 acres which was gazetted by the Commissioner of Crown Lands on 11 December 1847 at Noarlunga.19

A visiting English artist drew a landscape of Morphett Vale 1845.
Morphett Vale c1845, artist Alex C. Kelly
(source: State Library of South Australia, A. C. Kelly Collection, image B5765
http://trove.nla.gov.au/version/18335320)
Thomas Darby and John Darby were evidently sheep farmers as they advertised for sale 850 "Two and Four tooth ewes and wethers, perfectly free from all disease". Richard Edward Tapley, a distant family member, was listed as a contact. on 13 September 1848 at Morphett Vale, South Australia.20

Thomas Darby married Jessie Nicholson, daughter of Daniel Nicholson and Jane Wilkie, on Thursday, 23 November 1848 at Morphett Vale, South Australia. A week earlier at the same place, Thomas' brother John had married Mary Leonard.21 Thomas and Jessie Nicholson, aged 23 became the parents of Edward Baker Darby on Tuesday, 5 February 1850 at Morphett Vale, South Australia.22 He witnessed his brother William Darby's death on 1 July 1850 at Morphett Vale, South Australia. William died in the house his brothers Thomas and John shared.23,24,25

Thomas Darby was granted a succession of timber licences in August 1850.26 Thomas and John became quite politically active in the ealy 1850s on issues such as universal suffrage.27,28,29

Thomas Darby and Reverend Edward Knight Baker both signed a passionate letter, published in a newspaper 8 March 1851, against the state financial support of religion - an unusual position for men who were both deeply religious, but perhaps motivated by not wanting to see the influence of the Church of England growing.30

His brother John died Wednesday, 26 January 1853 after a brief illness, aged 34.31

His father died 4 March 1853 at the approximate age of 74.

Thomas was a committee member and Richard was the chairman of the 'Farmers Mutual Insurance Association'.32 On 13 June 1859 a man called Thomas Darby was granted a licence to teach by the Chief Inspector of Schools.33 Thomas Darby attended the annual meeting of the Congregational Union of South Australia on 9 April 1862 at Rundle Street Chapel, in Adelaide.34 Thomas and Jessie were almost certainly present at the laying of the foundation stone for the Morphett Vale Baptist Church on Thursday, 20 June 1867.
Laying the foundation stone for the Morphett Vale Baptist Church - Thomas and Jessie were both involved with this church and were alsomost certainly present.
(source: State Library of South Australia, image B26911
http://www.catalog.slsa.sa.gov.au: 80/record=b2030758~S1)
On 4 July 1863 Thomas applied to have his land Noarlunga placed under the Real Property Act.35 Thomas lived in August 1863 at Morphett Vale, South Australia.36 On 7 August 1863 Thomas Darby applied with his brother John's sons George and James for their lands at Section 628, in Noarlunga, South Australia to be brought under the Real Property Act.36 He was asked to be one of two umpires in a commercial dispute, but were unable to come to a decision on 6 May 1864.37 On 3 December 1864 a man of the same name and age pleaded guilty and was convicted of two counts of child abuse and sentanced to two years and six months hard labour. However, other records establish that it was not this Thomas Darby.38 He offerred to let 80 fenced acres, half under cultivation and half timbered, water at 5 foot depth on 28 March 1865 at Morphett Vale, South Australia.39 He was Returning Officer for the election of Mr. Bain in No.4 Ward on 29 November 1865 at Morphett Vale, South Australia.40 He was one of four people who formed the Morphett Vale Baptist Church building committee circa 1866 at Morphett Vale, South Australia.41

On 16 November 1867 Thomas Darby made a report to the papers that red rust was destroying all the wheat in the local area, and he couldn't predict the yeild. A week later he was saying that there may be no yeild at all. at Morphett Vale, South Australia.42,43

Thomas was one of a number of farmers who met 13 February 1868 to seek relief from the government due to the effects of the red rust infestation. They primary sought the loan of seed wheat over a period of two years.44 He represented his local area at the South Australian Baptist Association, and was on the committee of the Morphett Vale Branch Bible Society on 29 October 1868.45
Horse Shoe, Noarlunga c.1872
(source: National Library of Australia, picture an20886593-81
http://nla.gov.au/nla.pic-an20886593-81)


Thomas Darby was the foreman at an inquest into the death of a little boy, the eldest son of a widow, who had fallen from a horse. on 9 March 1870.46 He joined the commitee of the Bible Society's branch annnual general meeting on 13 September 1870 at Morphett Vale, South Australia.47 He was one of the local delegates to the Baptist Association's three-day meeting, and so again in the following year on 7 October 1870.48,49 He was senior deacon on 27 April 1872 at the Baptist Chapel, in Morphett Vale, South Australia.50 He gave an address to 300 to 400 people, gathered for the Band of Hope on 17 June 1872 at Morphett Vale, South Australia.51 He stood down as an auditor on 9 July 1874 at Morphett Vale, South Australia.52 He and Jessie Nicholson purchased 608 acres (County of Fergusson, Hundred of Minlacowie, Section 6) by selection for £1216 on 8 September 1874 at Minlacowie, South Australia.53,54 It was noted that many families - not just the Darbys - were leaving the Morphett Vale region which "makes people think that the glory of this once thriving and thickly-populated district has departed— let us hope not for ever."55
Noarlunga c.1875
(source: State Library of South Australia B 26091
http://www.catalog.slsa.sa.gov.au: 80/record=b2033658~S1)


On the occasion of the departure of the Darbys to Minlacowie on 12 February 1875:
"A social tea meeting was held in the Baptist Chapel last night to bid farewell to Mr. and Mrs. Darby and Mr. W. Holland, about to leave for the Peninsula. Mr. J. Clark, J.P., presented Mrs. Darby with a sewing-machine and Mr. Darby with a purse of money. The latter feelingly replied. Messrs. Ashton, Keats, and others spoke."56



Further:
"Mr. Darby's departure from this district yesterday was marked by the presentation of a Family Bible and Hymn-book, on which were inscribed the following:—' Presented as a token of love and esteem by the scholars of the Morphett Vale Baptist Sunday-School to their respected Superintendent, Mr. Thomas Darby, on his leaving for Yorke's Peninsula.' As address was read by James Holland, a scholar, who also handed over the testimonial, expressing regret at the removal, with warm wishes for their friend's welfare in his new sphere of labour. Mr. Darby feelingly replied, and thus severed his connection of nearly quarter of a century."57



Now settled in Minlacowie, Thomas became involved in the local Baptist Sunday School, and became involved in fund-raising for the construction of a chapel, hosting a lecture on the "'History of the English Bible.' The address was given in three parts, the intervals being filled with music, &c."58,59

When the Darby family moved to Minlacowie, South Australia by travelled by bullock dray and on arrival cultivated the land, which was scrub, with a single furrow plow and one horse.60

Thomas provided information on the death of his sister Martha Darby, on 6 August 1876, at Minlacowie, South Australia. She died in his house.61,62

Thomas and Jessie attended the laying of the foundation stone for the new Baptist Chapel at Minlacowie, South Australia on 30 August 1876:
"New Baptist Chapel— Services were held at Minlacowie, Yorke's Peninsula, on Wednesday, August 30, in connection with the laying of the foundation-stone of a Baptist Chapel at that place. The stone was laid by two ladies of the congregation, Mesdames Darby and Holland, and the day being fine friends to the number of 150 assembled from adjacent parts to assist in the services. A tea meeting took place at 5 in the afternoon in a marquee erected tin the chapel ground, which was attended by moat of those present and others who arrived subsequently. At the public meeting held afterwards Mr. Thomas Darby was unanimously voted to the chair. That gentleman having addressed the meeting, the Rev. J. Nancarrow read the financial statement, and stated that the desire of the members was if possible to erect the building free of debt."63

At their property in Minlacowie, Thomas farmed wheat and grazed sheep.64 Thomas represented the district at the annual South Australian Baptist Association for a number of years from 1877.65,66 On 22 May 1878 Thomas was commended for his management of the local school. These provisonal schools had less than 20 students and needed to be not denominational or sectarian in character.67,68

Thomas, as the father of the bride, along with Jessie attended Alice Darby and John Nancarrow's wedding on Thursday, 3 October 1878 at Minlacowie, South Australia. The wedding was conducted at their house. John was a Baptist minister.69 On 14 February 1881 Thomas Darby gave a report on the test-growing of two new types of wheat - Champlain and Defiance. The wheat was passed to him by his brother-in-law George Speller Wright J.P.70 In early 1883 Thomas was a valuator of surrendered selections under the Land Act.71 He purchased some land at Minlacowie that had been surrendered to the Government. He purchased this land for half its original value on 13 April 1883.72 He purchased 392 acres at 1 pound per acre by selection on credit from the land office. Provided that he retained his original holding from 9 years before, he would have had exactly a thousand acres (about 4 square kilometres) on 6 September 1883.73 Thomas, as the father of the bride, along with Jessie attended Louisa Margaret Darby and George James Denness's wedding on Thursday, 16 April 1891 at Minlacowie, South Australia. The wedding was conducted at their house.74 Thomas placed an advertisment in the paper on 24 December 1892, describing a disease his cattle were dying from and hoping for a solution. He received a reply in the following week which included many details, but it isn't known if this helped solve the problem.75 Thomas, as the father of the bride, along with Jessie attended Emily Mary Darby and Robert Bain Carmichael's wedding on Thursday, 14 September 1893 at Minlacowie, South Australia. The wedding was conducted at their house.76,77

It isn't known what happened in the last fourteen years of Thomas' life - as he was in his late seventies, perhaps he was able to take some pleasure in his grandchildren and great grandchildren .
Unloading wheat at Minlacowie c1916
(source: State Library of South Australia, Pictorial Collection, image B 32232
http://images.slsa.sa.gov.au /mpcimg/32250/B32232.htm)


Thomas died on 4 June 1907 at Hopelands, in Minlacowie, South Australia, He outlived all his siblings.. His obituary said:
'DARBY.-On the 4th June, at Hopelands, Minlacowie, Yorke's Peninsula, Thomas, the beloved husband of Jessie Darby, and son of the late George Darby, of Hertfordshire, England, in his 91st year.78,79'


Thomas had a short obituary written about him on 7 June 1907:
"Mr. Thomas Darby, of Minlacowie, died on Tuesday. The deceased, who was 90 years of age, was engaged in farming pursuits on Yorke Peninsula for about 29 years, and prior to that he was a sheep-farmer at Morphett Vale. He was closely connected with the Baptist denomination, and was, for many years, superintendent of the Sunday-school at Morphett Vale. He left a widow, four sons, and four daughters. The eldest son is Mr. J. Darby, secretary of the Marine Board."80

Children of Thomas Darby and Jessie Nicholson

Children
Last Edited3 May 2015

Timeline

DateEventPlace
Family
Family
c 1816BirthHertford
1816BaptismLady Huntingdon's Connexion, Hertford1
1834Apprenticed3
1839Occupation5,6
1839Residence-hideBengeo, Hertford4
1839Emmigratn-newLondon10
1839Immigratn-newPort Adelaide, South Australia10
1848Residence-hideMorphett Vale, South Australia21
1848MarriageMorphett Vale, South Australia21
1850Residence-hideMorphett Vale, South Australia81
1863ResidenceMorphett Vale, South Australia36
1875Quotation type 256
Quotation type 257
1876Quotation type 1Minlacowie, South Australia63
1907DeathHopelands, in Minlacowie, South Australia78,79
1907Quotation type 180
ChartsAylott Family - descendants
Darby Family - descendants
Descendents of Richard Darby

Citations

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